Media: Action Alert

Your help needed to support increased funding for the Marine Turtle Conservation Act!

Date: February 22, 2008
Contact: Marydele Donnelly
Phone: (352) 373-6441

Action deadline: Ended March 14, 2008
How You Can Help

Dear STC Activist,

We need your help to prevent big cuts in special programs that protect marine turtles, elephants, tigers, rhinos, great apes, and neotropical migratory birds. President Bush has again asked Congress to slash funding for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. STC activists helped to stop similar cuts in each of the last three years and convinced Congress to increase funding for the Marine Turtle Conservation Act, the newest fund in the program. You can help again.

These small and effective programs desperately need to be increased, not cut. They have been hugely successful in conserving more than 100 threatened species around the world by providing grants for anti-poaching, population surveys, education, and efforts to resolve human-animal conflicts. In the countries where these animals live, poverty, conflict and natural disasters often hinder conservation efforts. As a result, grant requests have far outstripped available resources.

Last year Congress appropriated $12.3 million for the Multinational Species Conservation Programs, including $984,000 for marine turtles. President Bush's budget for 2009 does not take into account increases approved by Congress in recent years and instead has proposed to cut the overall program by more than $4 million from last year's level, with only $300,000 for marine turtles!

Please contact your Congressional Representative by March 14th to urge key committees to increase funding for these programs.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

TAKE ACTION: Urge your Representative to support strong funding for the conservation of marine turtles and other endangered species.

* Contact the Washington, DC or local office of your Congressional Representative and make the main points from the letter below. You can reach your Representative via the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or via the internet by going to U.S. Congress and clicking on Write your Representative. All Congressional offices also have websites and contact information.

* Forward this alert to your friends and colleagues.

Your help makes a difference! Thank you.


SAMPLE MESSAGE TEXT
Text as an MS Word file

Dear (insert the name of your Representative here):

I urge you to sign a Dear Colleague letter to the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Multinational Species Conservation Funds for this year. These funds safeguard marine turtles, elephants, tigers, rhinos, great apes, and neo-tropical migratory birds, and help to ensure these animals are protected from extinction. A letter of support for these programs is being circulated by Representatives George Miller, Don Young, Madeleine Bordallo and Henry Brown.

This year the President's budget proposes to cut funds for the Multinational Species Funds by $4 million. These programs provide great value and thus I urge you to request $2.25 million each for the Marine Turtle Fund, Asian Elephant Fund, African Elephant Fund, and the Great Apes Fund; $3 million for the combined Rhino-Tiger Fund and $6 million for neo-tropical migratory birds.

These funds have an excellent record of success, despite continuing threats from disease, poverty, insurgency, and natural disasters. The funds also provide economic security for human populations in areas where these endangered species are found, contributing to domestic stability and producing benefits for American foreign policy.

The Marine Turtle Conservation Fund especially needs more support, as grant requests have far outstripped the resources of this newest program. Over the last five years only about a quarter of the marine turtle applications have been funded. These initiatives have succeeded in protecting vulnerable turtles from being killed as they come ashore to nest and supported turtle-based tourism and conservation education.

The Multinational Species Conservation Funds help to generate support from other governments, corporations and conservation organizations. In addition, many grants protect forest habitats that are essential to the control of global warming. Please do all you can to support these magnificent species that are an integral part of the natural heritage shared by all of us.

The deadline for signatures is March 14, 2008. Signatures are being collected by Ben Miller (202-225-2095) on Congressman George Miller's staff.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Your name and address