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SOS Rhino : In the News : Archived News : March 2001 : Testimony on Rhino Conservation

Testimony on Rhino Conservation

Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.
March 15, 2001

In summary:

Rhinos are still in crisis but stabilization and some recovery of numbers have commenced. Support from the RTCF has been a critical and catalytic factor in this improvement. There is need for support from the RTCF to continue and if possible to increase over the next 5-7 years. Therefore, the IRF, the IUCN/SSC Asian and African Rhino Specialist Groups, and the AZA Rhino Advisory Group encourage Congress to:

- Reauthorize the Rhino and Tiger Act through the Year 2007 as proposed in HR 645.

- Increase the amount of the appropriations to at least $1 Million for Fiscal 2002, toward a goal of $1,500,000/fiscal year in the near future.

- Reauthorize the African and Asian Elephant Conservation Acts, which provide substantial support for rhinos as well as the species for which they are designated.

As a final comment, may I observe another reason that support from the United States for rhino conservation in Asia and Africa is both appropriate and ironic considering the history of the rhino family. The United States was long ago the center of rhino distribution on this planet. Rhinos were the most common large mammal in North America from about 40 until about 5 million years ago, long before the bison arrived. Native American rhinos disappeared because of ecological reasons not well known.

However, through the RTCF, as well as the efforts of IRF and the AZA and its Species Survival Programs for rhino, the United States has the opportunity to help save the surviving species of this venerable and once American family of mammals from extinction. Thank you Mr. Chairman and Members of the Sub-Committee.



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