The US House of Representatives passed today, the 39th Earth Day, two bills that would aid some of the world’s most embattled wildlife: the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act (H.R. 411) and the Crane Conservation Act (H.R. 388).
Approved by a vote of 290 to 118, the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act protects twelve species of wild cats and dogs globally, including leopards, cheetahs, snow leopards, and African wild dogs. Building on the existing Multinational Species Conservation Funds, the bill aims to lessen poaching and smuggling, protect critical habitat, and support education related to these charismatic species in their home countries. If enacted, the bill will provide additional funding to private conservation organizations by as much as three to one. The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act was sponsored by Congressman Jay Inslee from Washington state.
The cheetah is one of the endangered cats that would benefit from the Great Cats and Rare Canids Act. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
“The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress,” said Bill Eichbaum, WWF vice president for U.S. Government Relations. “As it did last year, this bill passed the House today with overwhelming support. We now look forward to the Senate taking up the legislation and sending it to the President to be signed into law.”
The Crane Conservation Act also passed easily: 288 to 166. The Act supports crane conservation both in the U.S. and around the world. With eleven species of crane labeled threatened out of fifteen, cranes are considered the world’s most endangered bird family. The Act was authored by Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.
“We thank Congressman Jay Inslee and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin for their leadership and dedication and also recognize the long-term commitment of the co-chairs of the International Conservation Caucus for their continued support to this effort” said John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at the Wildlife Conservation Society.
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