Time for a Renaissance in Wildlife Protection

"Safeguarding wildlife must be a top priority for both the Obama administration and the new Congress. We need to start recovering species, not simply slowing their extinction."

11-13-2008 // Aislinn Maestas

Statement by John Kostyack
Executive Director of Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming
National Wildlife Federation

WASHINGTON, DC -- "It is time for a renaissance in wildlife protection in America. For too long, our threatened and endangered species have been allowed to slip further toward extinction. We must rollback the rollbacks, mend the holes in the safety net, and restore to health the array of plants, fish and wildlife that define our nation's natural heritage.

"In addition to repairing the damage done to laws meant to prevent extinctions, we must get ahead of the extinction curve. We need to address the climate crisis, restore scientific integrity to our agencies, and invest in a new era of conservation for wildlife and ecosystems.

"For the last eight years, the Endangered Species Act has been a target for attack. Funding has been slashed, protections have been denied, science has been ignored, and responsibilities have been avoided. There is no time to spare in getting our conservation priorities back on track.

"Safeguarding wildlife must be a top priority for both the Obama administration and the new Congress. We need to start recovering species, not simply slowing their extinction. We should protect entire ecosystems, encourage partnerships, and give wildlife agencies the resources they need to succeed. What's good for wildlife ultimately is good for our communities that depend on healthy forests, rivers, wetlands and other natural systems.

"The elephant in the room must not be ignored any longer. Global warming is already having an impact on wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and partners must quickly develop projections of how the future climate will affect critical habitats and integrate those projections into conservation plans and on-the-ground decisions. We need to update policies to ensure that state and federal agencies incorporate global warming science into their habitat conservation and management decisions. We can no longer assume that the climate of tomorrow will be the same as the climate of today."

The National Wildlife Federation is America's largest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future.

Contact: Aislinn Maestas, 202-797-6624, maestas@nwf.org

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