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Sign the Petition to

U.S. Senate and Congress

As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to support wildlife conservation and efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in the final FY16 appropriations process by stopping any riders to prevent action on the U.S. ivory ban, and by providing full funding for the U.S. commitment to the Global Environment Facility (GEF). Please contact Congressional leadership and ask them to take these important actions to protect wildlife from poaching and trafficking.

Globally, wildlife trafficking is one of the largest illicit industries, worth an estimated $8 to $10 billion annually. African elephants are now in the midst of the greatest poaching crisis since the 1980s, with an average of 96 being killed per day for their ivory, or one every 15 minutes. Further, between 2002 and 2013, Central Africa's forest elephant population declined by two-thirds, with heavy poaching continuing to this day. At this rate, forest elephants could be extinct in the wild within a decade.

On a broader scale, increasing pressures on natural resources and biodiversity loss are driving scarcity resulting in a global increase in the prices paid for many illegal wildlife products, attracting large scale criminal and terrorist related activities around poaching, overfishing, trafficking, and lawlessness. Investments to promote the health of natural resources and the people relying upon them across the world make up a tiny fraction of the federal budget, but provide valuable support to efforts worldwide to conserve wildlife, reduce conflict around scarce resources, and promote sustainable natural resource management.

At the end of July, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a proposed rule to close loopholes in the existing ban on commercial ivory sales that have allowed illegal ivory to be sold in the U.S. for decades. This proposed rule takes critical steps to help to ensure that the U.S. no longer serves as a destination for poached ivory, and will stop the inadvertent support of extremist groups -- including Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army and Sudan's janjaweed militias, among others--by American consumers that have unwittingly purchased illegal ivory. Section 120 of the FY16 House Interior Appropriations Bill contains a harmful rider that would prevent the FWS from taking any further action on this important proposal, abrogating the open process that garnered more than 1.3 million comments during the 60-day comment period and condemning the U.S. to continue its unfortunate contribution to the eradication of one of the world's most iconic species.

To further aid in efforts to combat wildlife poaching and trafficking and to protect wildlife worldwide, I ask that you also work to fully fund the U.S. commitment to the GEF, an independent international financial facility that provides grants to address global environmental issues. The GEF invests in more than 1,000 conservation projects in 155 countries, protecting forests and habitat for threatened species globally. The GEF has developed a program to finance efforts to combat wildlife trafficking, which will provide financial support for important efforts to stop the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. No funding was provided for the GEF in the FY16 House State, Foreign Operations bill and the Senate bill only provides half of the Administration's requested amount and significantly less than was enacted in FY15, which would fail to meet the US government's commitment.

FWS' efforts on the ivory ban and the U.S. government's commitments to the GEF both play an important role in conserving wildlife and combating wildlife trafficking. Please express your support for these initiatives by weighing in with Congressional leadership as work on appropriations for FY16 is completed. Thank you for your consideration.


Wildlife Conservation Society

This petition closed over 4 years ago

How this will help

This summer, millions of Americans spoke out in favor of new rules to strengthen regulation of the ivory trade. But some members of Congress aren't listening. They've attached a dangerous rider to...

This summer, millions of Americans spoke out in favor of new rules to strengthen regulation of the ivory trade. But some members of Congress aren't listening. They've attached a dangerous rider to the annual funding bill that would drastically weaken efforts to crack down on illegal ivory. And on top of that, they're threatening huge funding cuts to anti-poaching programs and wildlife conservation work worldwide.

Let Congress know that you're watching – and you won't accept laws that kill elephants and put vulnerable wildlife at risk. Tell your lawmakers: Stand up for elephants, oppose these dangerous attempts to undermine wildlife protections.


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