Thursday, February 26, 2009

Congress Urged to Help Prevent Wildlife from Becoming Endangered

More than 100 advocates from over 30 states participate in the 8th Annual Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In Day

Washington, DC (February 26, 2008)—As part of the 8th Annual Teaming With Wildlife Fly-In Day, more than 100 conservation leaders from over 30 states met with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of new and greater funding to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered through the State Wildlife Grants program.

The Fly-In event, held over three days, is the most important outreach event for the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition, which includes nearly 6,000 conservation groups and businesses. The goal of the Coalition is to secure dedicated funding to support on-the-ground conservation action in every state and territory to prevent wildlife from becoming endangered.

This year, Teaming With Wildlife Fly-in participants urged their Members of Congress to sign on to a letter of support restoring State Wildlife Grant funding to $85 million; co-sponsor the Teaming With Wildlife Act of 2009 to provide increased and dedicated funding for wildlife conservation; and support wildlife adaptation funding in climate change legislation.

“Early, preventive conservation is the most cost-effective use of taxpayer dollars and most efficient way to address the challenges facing all wildlife, including current threats and the predicted impacts of global climate change," said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “Waiting until a species declines to the point of being listed as threatened or endangered requires costly and risky recovery efforts. Especially in today’s economy, the State Wildlife Grants Program represents how limited federal funds can be invested to get the greatest return for Americans and for wildlife.”

At the Fly-In Day’s annual reception, Celebrate America’s Wildlife, the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition presented an award to Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) for supporting dedicated wildlife adaptation funding in climate change legislation introduced last year and one to Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) for championing federal funding of State Wildlife Grants through appropriations. Held in the Rayburn House Office Building, the reception also was attended by other Members of Congress and the Chairman of the Resources Committee. Live wildlife from the Salisbury Zoo gave all attendees an opportunity to interact with animals that could be at risk without help.

Despite historical successes in bringing many wildlife species back from the brink of extinction, other species have continued to decline as evidenced by the staggering numbers listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. State hunting and fishing license dollars, federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing gear and motorboat fuel taxes have provided the backbone for funding the nation’s state wildlife conservation programs over the past century. However, there has always been a gap in funding for species that are not hunted or fished. State Wildlife Grants have provided state fish and wildlife agencies with the resources they critically need to partially fill that gap.

Visit to learn more about the Teaming With Wildlife Coalition.
(top) Representative Tiahrt with Matt Hogan
(bottom) Representative Doggett addresses attendees at the reception