More than 300 wildlife conservation advocates gather to celebrate ESA's 40th birthday
Last night, as a member of the Endangered Species Coalition, I was proud to represent IFAW at A Wild Success: Forty years of the Endangered Species Act, a gathering of more than 300 wildlife conservation advocates at the Library of Congress to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act.
At the event, I had the honor of co-presenting, along with the World Wildlife Fund, an award to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for her active role in recognizing that the global wildlife trafficking crisis is inherently connected to increasing corruption and increasing threats to security.
Since leaving the State Department, Mrs. Clinton has continued to lead on this issue through the Clinton Global Initiative. As a founding partner in a new Clinton Global Initiative commitment announced this past September (Partnership to Save African Elephants), IFAW continues to advocate that in order to protect elephants we must address every link on the ivory trade chain just as outlined in the commitment’s approach: stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand – a mantra that CGI and Hillary Clinton have now put new energy and commitment behind.
“The protection and preservation of wildlife is a stewardship responsibility that we owe to future generations to come,” said Clinton, who was unable to attend but submitted a written statement. “That is why the Endangered Species Act is an enormous point of pride for our country. It has been a wild success.”
The crowd was especially happy when I announced that today, nearly 6 tons of seized illegal ivory will be crushed into dust at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service repository in Denver, demonstrating just how much energy is behind the U.S. government’s commitment to addressing this issue now .
Five Congressional wildlife conservation leaders were honored for their work on passing, defending and strengthening the Act: Representative John Dingell (MI-12), who was one of the original co-sponsors of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8), Rep. Jim Moran (VA-8), and Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5).
It was so special to share the room with them, and their speeches on the ESA’s importance were inspiring.
We at IFAW have done a lot of work to help species get protection under the Act – most recently, polar bears, caribou, and lions – and we rely on its continued authority to carry on with our efforts.
However, there’s still more to be done.
Shockingly, although the Act has had great success protecting jeopardized flora and fauna, some members of Congress want to weaken it.
We can’t let that happen.
The ESA is the world’s most powerful law protecting hundreds of species here, and abroad from extinction. Please make sure to let your Congressional representatives know the ESA has your support.