Rep. Huffman introduces bipartisan bill to address world extinction crisis

September 17, 2019

Washington, D.C.- Responding to the growing international wildlife extinction crisis, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced new legislation today to establish a new fund for protecting and conserving highly endangered species around the world.

“The accelerating rate of species extinction is not just a crisis for wildlife, but a crisis for humanity,” said Rep. Huffman. “A global response is needed to reverse this trend, for wildlife and for everyone around the world who depends on healthy ecosystems for their livelihoods, food, clean water, and other critical resources. Our bill would make the U.S. a partner in fighting the world’s extinction crisis, by supporting conservation projects for the world’s most vulnerable species to ensure that future generations can live in a world as rich in biodiversity as we do today. This is a moral issue, as well as a security and economic concern.”

The new bipartisan bill, the Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Act, would establish in law a Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Fund, to be administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the successful Multinational Species Conservation Fund program. This long-running program provides competitive grant funding for wildlife conservation projects around the world, including efforts to protect elephants, great apes, and marine turtles. The new Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Fund, based on an earlier Fish and Wildlife Service effort that lapsed in 2015, will focus on endangered or critically endangered species on the IUCN Red List, such as snow leopards, Andean cats, African penguins, white-backed vultures, and countless others that need active help to prevent further loss in the wild.

“We must act with urgency to protect our world’s most endangered animals,” said Rep. Buchanan. “Funding projects that reduce threats to critically endangered species is our best chance at ensuring their survival. I look forward to working with Congressman Huffman to get this bill signed into law.”

“Tens of thousands of species around the globe are now threatened with extinction from a variety of human impacts,” said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society Executive Vice President for Public Affairs. “The Critically Endangered Animals Conservation Act will restart a critical program that provided a key funding source for projects that have curbed the decline of many species. I thank Representatives Jared Huffman and Vern Buchanan for introducing this important legislation.”

Rep. Huffman, who chairs the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee, convened a congressional hearing earlier this year on the dangerous international decline of wildlife species, focused on the 2019 Global Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. At the hearing, the authors of that landmark assessment report testified that biodiversity is declining at a rate unprecedented in human history. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, more than 28,000 species are threatened with extinction.

In addition to Reps. Huffman and Buchanan, the legislation is being introduced by a bipartisan group of cosponsors including Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jeff Van Drew (D-NJ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Peter King (R-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Susan Wild (D-PA).

The text of the legislation, numbered H.R. 4341, may be found here.

The new bill is supported by: African Wildlife Foundation, Animal Welfare Institute, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Bonobo Conservation Initiative, Cheetah Conservation Fund, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Environmental Investigation Agency, Humane Society International, Humane Society Legislative Fund, The Humane Society of the United States, International Crane Foundation, International Elephant Foundation, International Fund for Animal Welfare, International Rhino Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rare Species Fund, Wild Earth Allies, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.