WASHINGTON— In the face of growing concerns over the global wildlife extinction crisis, more than 270 conservation groups today urged the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations to increase funding for endangered species conservation and recovery.
In a letter the groups encouraged the Senate to adopt funding levels passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June. The House boosted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s overall budget to $1.65 billion — a $72 million increase from the previous year.
This proposed increase includes $23 million more to recover endangered species and an additional $5 million to determine whether imperiled animals and plants warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.
“America’s most imperiled animals and plants desperately need more help to survive in the face of the global extinction crisis,” said Stephanie Kurose, an endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Senate should approve this modest increase and help get more endangered species on the road to recovery.”
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s own reports to Congress, hundreds of endangered species receive less than $1,000 annually for recovery, and many receive no funding at all. In addition, there are approximately 500 imperiled animals and plants still awaiting a decision on whether they need protection under the Act.
“The science is clear: biodiversity faces unprecedented threats and decline, with about 1 million species at risk of extinction,” said Dr. Jacob Malcom, director of the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife. “We know that funding is essential to ensuring the recovery of species protected by the Endangered Species Act, and it’s time for the Senate to act.”
In May the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, known as IPBES, warned governments around the world that 1 million species are now at risk of extinction because of human activity. IPBES scientists said that urgent actions are needed to avert mass extinction in the coming decades.
Other groups joining today’s letter include Earthjustice, NRDC, the Sierra Club and the Humane Society of the United States.