Have you ever seen a tiger in the wild? How about an elephant? If not, would you ever want to? If we do not act now to protect these iconic species, you might not ever get the chance.
Did you know… Ivory poachers have killed more than 100,000 African elephants since 2012. In Cameroon, poachers used grenades to slaughter over 300 elephants in one day.
During 2014, 1,200 were killed in South Africa--that’s one every 13 hours! Rhino horns sell for more than $50,000 per kilo. Overall, illegal wildlife trafficking generates more than $19 billion per year, ranking alongside illegal drugs, small arms, and human trafficking as one of the world’s top criminal activities.
The leading causes of tiger population declines are poaching, habitat loss, prey depletion, and disease. A tiger needs to eat about 50 deer-sized prey each year, meaning habitat loss affects all species from predator to prey.
African and Asian elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, gibbons, orangutans and marine turtles are only some of the important species protected by the Multinational Species Conservation Fund.
All of these charismatic creatures are threatened or endangered. Poaching, habitat loss, and human disturbance is proving to be detrimental, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doing what it can to protect them.
What does this have to do with wildlife refuges you might ask? Wildlife species know no international boundaries, and therefore conservation must happen on a global scale to ensure populations survive. Many international wildlife agencies look to the National Wildlife Refuge System as the world leader in wildlife and fish conservation. The Service’s Wildlife Without Borders Program and Multinational Species Conservation Funds together support global partnerships to protect marine turtles, tigers, rhinos, great apes, elephants, and other iconic species. These programs are particularly important as wildlife face a poaching crisis that is leading species such as rhinos to the brink of extinction.
Can you imagine a world without elephants, tigers and rhinos? Neither can we, which is why we encourage you to urge your member of Congress to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds and the Wildlife Trafficking Enforcement Act which imposes stricter enforcement of wildlife trafficking laws.