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Endangered Species Legislation

Sponsor(s): Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT)

S. 529 Great Cats and Rare Canids Act of 2009

House Version H.R. 411

Purpose: This bill would assist in the conservation of rare canids and rare felids. Financial resources would be provided to conservation programs in nations within the range of these animals' populations, and funding would be provided to those with demonstrated expertise in protecting these animals.

Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Ordered to be reported without amendment favorably.

Action: SUPPORT. Please contact your senators and urge them to support S. 529. Tell them that many wild populations of canids and felids — that once were considered common — are now in decline. Their long-term survival in the wild is in serious jeopardy, and this legislation will help to conserve rare species.

Talking Points for your letter

  • Of the 37 wild felid species worldwide, all are currently recognized as species in need of protection under federal and/or international laws. Of the 35 wild canid species worldwide, nearly 50 percent are recognized as in need of such protection.
  • Large felids and canids are considered both umbrella and indicator species. Healthy populations of these species act as an important indicator of the integrity of entire ecosystems and, because they require large wild spaces to persist, their presence benefits entire ecosystems and a large number of other species. Measures taken to benefit these keystone species will ultimately benefit a great number of other species.
  • Rare felids and rare canids face an array of threats, including loss of habitat and natural prey, intentional and unintentional takings by humans, and disease transmission. These threats need to be addressed in a coordinated fashion.
  • Conservation of rare felid and rare canid populations requires global commitment. Adequate funding for conservation is sorely lacking, and many range countries for those species do not have adequate infrastructure to protect species of concern. Those countries that do provide assistance to threatened populations need further assistance in implementing effective conservation strategies.
  • In particular, in developing nations with limited resources, poverty, population growth, and habitat loss all present significant challenges to conservation of rare felids and rare canids.
  • Although some protections and initiatives exist to conserve rare felid and rare canid populations and their habitat, those efforts can be significantly strengthened and enhanced by increased coordination and the infusion of targeted funding to benefit species of concern.

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