Costa introduces bipartisan legislation to fund wildlife conservation

Nov 24, 2021
Press Release

(WASHINGTON DC) – Representatives Jim Costa (CA-16) and John Katko (NY-24) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 6023 - Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan legislation would require the United States Postal Service (USPS) to sell approximately 45 million Saving Vanishing Species Stamps left in stock to promote wildlife conservation. 

“I am proud to introduce this legislation to reauthorize the USPS to sell remaining vanishing species stamps. These stamps make a difference by generating millions to sustain wildlife conservation without expense to U.S. taxpayers. These investments are vital to safeguard endangered species for future generations to come.” Costa said. 

“I am proud to introduce the Multinational Species Conservation Funds Semipostal Stamp Reauthorization Act,” said Rep. Katko. “Buying semipostal stamps is one of the most accessible ways for people to donate to causes they care about. In the past, the ‘tiger stamp’ has been carried by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to support wildlife conservation, raising nearly $6 million for the effort and funding nearly 100 projects in 35 countries. However, despite having nearly 50 million stamps still in stock, these stamps have not been available for purchase for several years. This bill ensures the USPS sells the remaining semipostal stamps that benefit efforts to save vulnerable species worldwide.”  

Said John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Vice President for Public Affairs“The purchase of tiger stamps has gone directly to support WCS field conservation work that protects tigers and orangutans in Southeast Asia, along with forest elephants in Central Africa, and the last remaining Cross River Gorillas in the forests of western Africa. We thank Congressional Representatives Jim Costa and John Katko for introducing this important legislation to extend the stamp and continue to support this important work for another decade.”  

“During these uncertain times, every conservation action matters, and buying the Save Vanishing Species stamp represents a conservation action anyone can take,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “The Tiger Stamp is a reminder to all who use it that they are helping save African and Asian elephants, rhinos, tigers, great apes, marine turtles, freshwater turtles, and tortoises from extinction. Thank you to Representatives Costa and Katko for introducing the bill, and for their support of wildlife conservation. I am hopeful Congress will take action and quickly reauthorize the Tiger Stamp!”  

“This legislation would continue a highly successful program that has generated millions of dollars for international conservation at no cost to the American taxpayer. By purchasing the Save Vanishing Species stamp, Americans can help save our planet’s most iconic and endangered wildlife every time they mail a letter. With a global extinction crisis continuing to threaten the survival of many species, this program remains as important as ever. We urge Congress to pass this bill and reinforce the longstanding bipartisan support for global wildlife conservation programs,” said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for Wildlife Conservation, World Wildlife Fund.   

Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund, said “The Tiger Stamp has already generated $5.7 million to conserve some of the world’s most iconic imperiled wild animals. This bill gives Americans the opportunity to increase that contribution every time they visit the post office, all at no taxpayer cost. HSLF thanks Representatives Costa and Katko for leading this win-win legislation.”  

“The Save Vanishing Species Semipostal stamp, or Tiger Stamp, gives everyone the opportunity to help protect imperiled tigers, rhinos, great apes, turtles, tortoises and elephants from threats including poaching and wildlife trafficking, habitat destruction, and climate change,” said Danielle Kessler, US Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)“The Tiger Stamp costs consumers just a few cents more than a regular first-class stamp, but has huge benefits for animals around the world. We applaud Representatives Costa and Katko for their work to ensure this popular and impactful stamp remains available to purchase as long as stock remains.”  

The Vanishing Species Semi Postal Stamp is sold by the USPS at a slightly higher cost than a first-class stamp. The additional proceeds supplement the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, which support conservation efforts that save vulnerable species worldwide. Almost 51 million stamps have been sold since going on sale in 2011, raising nearly $6 million for conservation at no direct cost to U.S. taxpayers.

H.R. 6023 is the companion bill to S.521, introduced by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Tom Carper (D-DE), earlier this year.