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Public Statements

Senate Resolution 680--Supporting International Tiger Conservation Efforts and the Upcoming Global Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KERRY (for himself, Mr. BINGAMAN, Ms. SNOWE, Mr. CARDIN, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, and Mr. MERKLEY) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:

S. Res. 680

Whereas wild tiger populations have dwindled from approximately 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to as few as 3,200 in 2010, and only approximately 1,000 wild tigers are breeding females;

Whereas tigers now occupy a mere 7 percent of the habitat that tigers historically have occupied;

Whereas poaching, illegal wildlife trade, habitat conversion, depletion of prey base, conflict between humans and wildlife, and other pressures continue to threaten the last wild tigers;

Whereas the remaining tiger habitat in Asia supports some of the richest biodiversity and some of the poorest human populations;

Whereas the remaining tiger habitat benefits local human populations by providing watersheds and buffers against natural disaster and contributing to livelihoods;

Whereas the remaining tiger habitat in Asia represents some of the largest intact storehouses of terrestrial carbon on Earth, containing an average of 3 1/2 times more carbon than areas outside of tiger habitat;

Whereas the tiger, an iconic species worldwide, can act as both a catalyst and a symbol for the conservation of the last great forests of Asia;

Whereas 2010, the ``Year of the Tiger'' in the Chinese calendar and beyond, presents a global opportunity to commit to halting the decline in tigers and to ensuring the doubling of the numbers of tigers by the next ``Year of the Tiger'' in 2022;

Whereas the Government of Russia is hosting the Global Tiger Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on November 22 through 24, 2010;

Whereas at the Summit, all 13 countries with remaining wild tiger populations are expected to commit to a Global Tiger Recovery Program;

Whereas the remaining tiger habitat is located in remote transnational areas, providing an opportunity for transboundary cooperation among countries with remaining wild tiger populations;

Whereas countries with remaining wild tiger populations need the support and cooperation of the global community to protect and restore wild tiger populations;

Whereas the United States has been a consistent leader in supporting international tiger conservation; and

Whereas strong United States support for remaining wild tiger populations, the Tiger Summit, and the Global Tiger Recovery Program will be central to the success of tiger conservation efforts: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) supports the goals of the Tiger Summit, as such goals reinforce the interests of the United States in recovering tigers in accordance with the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 (16 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.), and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, done at Washington March 3, 1973 (27 UST 1087; TIAS 8249);

(2) supports the efforts of United States government agencies to prevent poaching of tigers and to end trafficking in tigers and tiger parts, including through cooperation with the governments of countries with remaining wild tiger populations in training, capacity building, and law enforcement;

(3) supports the efforts of the United States government to protect tigers in the wild and the habitat of tigers through direct conservation assistance;

(4) acknowledges the important role that tiger habitats play in conserving biodiversity, securing forest carbon, protecting critical watersheds, providing buffers against natural disasters, and supporting livelihoods and human well-being in countries with remaining wild tiger populations;

(5) applauds the work of multilateral institutions, governmental, and nongovernmental conservation and environmental organizations working to recover tiger populations in the wild;

(6) commends the government of Russia for its leadership in hosting the Tiger Summit, which brings global attention to this important issue and launches the immediate implementation of National Tiger Recovery Priorities in the each of the 13 countries with remaining wild tiger populations;

(7) reaffirms the commitment of the United States government to tiger conservation;

(8) encourages the highest level of United States engagement in the Tiger Summit and in the outcomes of the Tiger Summit, including the provision of support to countries with remaining wild tiger populations in implementing the National Tiger Recovery Priorities and the Global Tiger Recovery Program; and

(9) urges concerted coordination among all relevant United States agencies to provide support to countries with remaining wild tiger populations in a manner that enables United States resources to provide maximum conservation benefits.

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