Innovative conservation funding source gets Fauna & Flora International stamp of approval
Katie Frohardt, Executive Director of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) United States, offered remarks in support of the Save Vanishing Species postage stamp – an innovative conservation financing mechanism supporting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – during a Capitol Hill briefing held in Washington, DC on Tuesday 7 May.
The Save Vanishing Species stamp directly contributes funding for projects supported by the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, which are administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve tigers, rhinos, great apes, marine turtles, African elephants and Asian elephants.
Sold at a premium, this stamp offers the general public a convenient way to support wildlife as for every stamp sold at 55 cents, the U.S. Postal Service transfers nine cents to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for international wildlife conservation. Since issuance in 2011, 21.9 million stamps have been sold at local post offices in the United States generating more than $2.18 million to support on-the-ground conservation of critically endangered international species.
In her remarks, Ms. Frohardt highlighted the value of the long-standing partnership between FFI and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and its positive conservation impact globally. She shared two examples of this productive collaboration – mountain gorilla conservation through the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) in Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, and protection of Asian elephants in Cambodia through a partnership known as the Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group.
The successes of IGCP, a partnership between FFI, WWF, African Wildlife Foundation and range state protected area authorities for over 20 years, have been well documented. With U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investment, for example, IGCP pioneered ranger-led monitoring of the gorillas and their habitat, demonstrably improving the quality of information available to manage this trans-boundary area effectively. The health of the mountain gorilla population is the ultimate barometer of this investment, and recent census work across the Virungas found that numbers have risen by over 25% since 2003.
In Cambodia, FFI teamed up with the ministries of environment and forestry to create the Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group in 2005. This group has mapped the movements of Cambodia’s wild elephants in the remote Cardamom mountain range, working with rural communities to create land-use plans that seek to reduce contact between wild elephants and rural communities and their agricultural plots. In recent years, with the aid of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this group has also promoted high-level government recognition of the importance of wild elephant conservation, and developed a National Action Plan for Asian elephants in Cambodia.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe remarked, “It has never been more important for us to celebrate conservation here and around the world.”
The stamp was created through U.S. federal legislation which was signed into law in September 2010 and is set to expire in 2013.
“The Save Vanishing Species stamp featuring the tiger cub has represented hope. It has also represented the generosity of the American public that respects and cares for life well beyond our shores. And, it continues to represent the ability of this Congress to enact innovative, fiscally-responsible, bipartisan measures aimed to secure a future for the world’s most iconic yet threatened species,” said Ms Frohardt.
On Capitol Hill, FFI was joined by Dave and Karie Ross Dombrowski, Max Scherzer and his fiancée Erica May—representatives from Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers, who have partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to raise funds for international conservation through their “Pennies for Paws” initiative. Stamps are also sold at Comerica Park, Detroit, where baseball fans, through their purchase, have donated thousands of dollars to fund conservation projects worldwide.
Among other speakers were U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director, Dan Ashe, and Chief of International Conservation, Dr. Herb Raffaele; BBDO New York Public Relations Vice President Austin Scherer; and U.S. Congressman Michael Grimm of New York – the chief proponent of the legislation which would reauthorise the stamp for an additional two years.
Save Vanishing Species stamps are available to purchase from local post offices in the United States, online at the Postal Store, or by placing a toll-free telephone order on 1-800-STAMP-24 (1-800-782-6724).
For more information, take a look at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s press statement.