Today, Representatives Michael G. Grimm (R-NY) and Pedro R. Pierluisi (D-PR) introduced the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act (H.R.3510) to extend the availability of the Save Vanishing Species stamp for an additional four years. The stamp provides an opportunity for the public to voluntarily contribute to conservation efforts by purchasing the stamp. The U.S. Postal Service then gives the proceeds from stamp sales to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fund projects for endangered keystone wildlife species including African and Asian elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes and marine sea turtles.
"This cost-free and simple reauthorization allows millions of Americans to continue to have the choice to support an important cause every time they purchase this stamp," said Rep. Grimm. "I am proud to introduce this legislation with Rep. Pierluisi to support wildlife conservation efforts while also helping our cash-strapped postal service save jobs and promoting tourism to New York's zoos and wildlife centers."
"Keeping the highly popular Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp for sale at post offices across our nation for four more years responds to public demand and makes sound business sense," said Rep. Pierluisi. "The impressive number of sales to date speaks to the stamp's value and to the public's awareness of the need to protect the world's most endangered wildlife species. With this stamp, the United States will continue to assert leadership in worldwide conservation efforts. I am pleased to partner with Congressman Grimm to help lead this bipartisan effort."
"The wildlife stamp is a tremendous opportunity to help save wildlife around the world in a financially responsible way," said John Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs of the Wildlife Conservation Society, a global conservation organization that works in more than 60 countries and manages four zoos and one aquarium in New York City including the Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium. "With the success of the stamp in just one month, the American public is making a statement that international wildlife conservation is important to them, so we must continue this momentum by extending the stamp for another four years. I thank Rep. Michael Grimm and Rep. Pedro Pierluisi for their leadership in this effort."
"Extending the availability of the Species Conservation stamp is a simple and cost-effective way for Americans to support wildlife conservation," said Ken Mitchell, Executive Director of the Staten Island Zoo. "The funds raised will help protect endangered species in the wild and support breeding programs and public education in our zoos and aquariums. This initiative has the Staten Island Zoo's enthusiastic "stamp' of approval, and we thank Congressman Michael Grimm and his colleagues in Congress for their leadership and strong voice on behalf of wildlife conservation."
This stamp has been highly successful, with 4 million stamps sold in the first 41 days of issuance, and it is currently available at over 35,000 post offices around the country. This legislation costs zero tax dollars, while diverting desperately needed funding to some of the most highly endangered species throughout the world.
The stamp also benefits our postal service by creating new revenue for the USPS that can be used to create and save postal jobs in our local communities. Every Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semi-Postal Stamp that is collected and/or not used equals a 100% profit for USPS that would not be there without this stamp.
Finally, the stamp promotes visitation to zoos and aquariums throughout the United States such as the Staten Island Zoo, the Bronx Zoo and the New York Aquarium resulting in increased tourism revenue to our local communities.
Legislation to create the stamp was introduced in the previous Congress and signed into law on September 30, 2010, mandating the stamp be available for two years. Rep. Grimm's legislation extends the stamp for an additional four years.
The Grimm-Pierluisi bill was introduced with the bipartisan support of 30 original cosponsors and has been endorsed by over 25 organizations.