As a constituent and as a supporter of the Wildlife Conservation Society who is greatly concerned about the dwindling populations of elephants, tigers, and other endangered and threatened species, I'm writing to urge you to vote to reauthorize the Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF), which are key bipartisan conservation programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The Multinational Species Conservation Funds have helped to protect some of the world's most endangered species such as tigers, Sumatran rhinoceroses, great apes, African elephants, Asian elephants, and marine turtles.
I'm worried that we are losing our biological heritage. Extinctions are happening 100 to 1,000 times more quickly than the natural rate, and unless we alter course, 60% of the earth's species may disappear by the end of this century. Every species and subspecies protected by the MSCF continues to face significant threats, but this U.S. government investment provides critical interventions to populations that still exist in the wild. Without support from programs such as the MSCF, these animals could have already disappeared from our planet.
In a tough fiscal climate, the MSCF represents an inexpensive, efficient program that provides benefits beyond its stated objectives. U.S. foreign assistance costs approximately 1.3 percent of the federal budget, and the MSCF comprises only .02 percent of this foreign assistance spending. The U.S. Department of the Interior recognized the value of the MSCF and calculated that the program generated 207 U.S. jobs and added $22.6 million to the U.S. economy in Fiscal Year 2010.
These are critical programs for protecting the world's most iconic species. I urge you to support H.R. 50, Multinational Species Conservation Funds Reauthorization Act of 2011, H.R. 1760, Great Ape Conservation Reauthorization Amendments Act of 2011, and H.R. 1761, Marine Turtle Conservation Reauthorization Act of 2011.
Thank you in advance for your support of these important programs.
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