Yesterday Congress passed an omnibus bill that will keep the government funded through September 2016. The $1.1 trillion omnibus package provides discretionary funding for the government, and has sealed the fate of all government programs for the next year.
International wildlife conservation emerged as a clear winner.
The Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which provide millions of dollars annually to support critical on the ground conservation efforts for tigers and other endangered species, received a $2 million dollar increase, resulting in a total allocation of $11.1 million. The $2 million increase will add $1 million each to the Rhino & Tiger Conservation Fund and African Elephant Conservation Fund.
With this increase in funding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can now support more critical tiger conservation projects across Asia, providing our wild mascot with an improved chance at survival. Past projects have included funding for wildlife law enforcement training, ecological research, education programs, demand reduction campaigns, and community-based conservation initiatives. To learn more about projects funded by MSCF, click here.
In addition to the increase for the MSCF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also received an additional $8 million to combat wildlife trafficking and dismantle organized crime syndicates.
These funding increases did not happen by accident. Congress heard and acted upon the tireless efforts of advocates, like our Tigers for Tigers members and supporters, urging their leaders in Washington to increase support for endangered wildlife.
While we should take a moment to celebrate this victory, our work is far from over. International species conservation receives extremely limited government funding while threats to animals like tigers are only increasing. It is up to us to continue advocating for important international conservation programs to ensure that our tiger mascot and other critically endangered species thrive in the wild.