WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate has passed the bipartisan Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act led by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Tom Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The legislation, which helps fund conservation projects, requires the U.S. Postal Service to sell the approximately 41 million remaining Saving Vanishing Species Stamps left in stock. It now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“We owe it to our future generations to preserve our planet’s rich wildlife and natural resources so they can continue to be enjoyed,” said Portman. “This successful stamp program has raised millions of dollars to fund conservation without any taxpayer money. I am proud the Senate has passed our bipartisan legislation to ensure every last stamp is sold and I urge the President to sign this into law soon.”
“If we want to save our world’s most threatened wildlife from extinction, we have to work collaboratively and creatively to combat threats like poaching and habitat loss. With our bill, Americans will continue to be able to directly help protect the at-risk species we love by purchasing postal stamps to help promote wildlife conservation,” said Carper. “Now that the Senate has passed this bipartisan bill, I’m hopeful it will reach President Biden’s desk quickly to be signed into law.”
On September 20, 2011, the U.S. Postal Service issued the Saving Vanishing Species Stamp, depicting an endangered Amur tiger cub, priced above the normal price of a first-class stamp. The difference in price from this first-class stamp is transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the five Multinational Species Conservation Funds to protect tigers, rhinoceroses, Asian and African elephants, marine turtles, and great apes. These programs target poaching, illegal wildlife trade, habitat protection, and projects to incorporate species conservation into community development.
Through the purchases of 59 million tiger stamps to-date, out of a total of 100 million stamps printed when the program began in 2011, Americans have raised more than $6.5 million for conservation projects. This funding has helped support 135 on-the-ground conservation projects in 37 countries. These projects have leveraged more than $25 million in matching funds provided by partners.
Portman and former Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) authored legislation that was signed into law to extend the sale of the stamp through September 2018. The FY2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 government funding bills each included a provision requiring the U.S. Postal Service to continue selling the stamps through the end of the fiscal year. This legislation would require the U.S. Postal Service to sell the approximately 41 million remaining stamps left in stock.
This legislation is supported by a variety of stakeholder groups, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Associations of Zoos and Aquariums.