Saving the Swift Fox Took Swift Action

A swift fox races the prairie sunset at a breathtaking pace of 30 mph. Nearby, her kits curl up safe and snug in their den. Thanks to proactive conservation led by the states and tribes, this tiny fox that once faced extinction is on the rebound and faces a brighter future. Today, the introduction of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2017 H.R. 4647 offers this same hope for some 12,000 wildlife species of greatest conservation need.

But the clock is ticking. To save more than a third of America’s wildlife facing declines is a race against time. Your swift action matters. Let’s flood Congress with support for this momentous bill to fund wildlife recovery. Every state is poised to repeat the swift fox success story. Now is the time.

Send a message to Congress urging support for the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act of 2017!

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The swift fox once graced the heart of America, joining a rich community of shortgrass birds and animals from the northern Great Plains south into Texas. But by 1992, much of this habitat was gone, and so was the swift fox—it was no longer found in 90 percent of its historic range, the victim of habitat loss and unintentional poisoning and trapping.

State wildlife agencies from Wyoming to Oklahoma, tribes, and conservation partners teamed up to rescue the swift fox, before its population had dropped to the point of no return.  They released foxes back to historic habitat. They continue to redouble efforts to conserve and manage our beautiful shortgrass prairies. Today, the fox has returned to an estimated 40 percent of its range. While threats and challenges still require vigilant attention, the fox did not have to be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), an emergency room tool for saving wildlife at the brink of extinction.

The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act directs funding to thousands of species of wildlife declining, but not yet listed under the Endangered Species Act. Habitat loss, competition from invasive species, severe weather and more challenges are mounting by the day. To act as soon as possible gives wildlife the best shot at recovery. To be proactive and preventative is cost-effective. Finally, by conserving our wildlife in trouble, we pass on a wild outdoor legacy.

At a time when one-third of America’s fish and wildlife species are at risk, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to save thousands of species and ensure that future generations inherit the full diversity of our nation’s wildlife. – Collin O’Mara, President and CEO, National Wildlife Federation

So, what does this mean for you, wherever you live?

Here’s a sampling of a few of our wildlife species that desperately need our help. Two of America’s most melodic and beloved songbirds—the eastern meadowlark and the wood thrush—have suffered severe declines, as high as 71 percent for the meadowlark over the last 40 years. Northern leopard frogs are no longer leaping away from laughing children trying to catch them in ponds. They have vanished or become rare across much of their western range.  Monarch butterflies are facing ever higher odds of reaching their destinations, as far as 3000 miles away.

The stories are sobering, yet there are tangible solutions, like restoring a monarch butterfly “highway” of native plants they need to survive their journey, and planting native spicebush that hosts high-energy berries for migrating wood thrushes.

The beauty of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is this. The $1.3 billion of annual funding goes straight to fund State Wildlife Action Plans. We can be assured that conservation will be like laser surgery—going to where it’s needed most with highest efficiency and results.

Funding comes from existing revenues—not anything new. It simply allocates a portion of dollars from energy and mineral development on federal lands and water. It makes sense that our wildlife is helped from energy extraction that can have damaging impacts.  That money is then distributed by an equitable formula to the states to fund at-risk wildlife recovery via the State Wildlife Action plans.

We can unite to pass the bi-partisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. We can assure the swift fox always runs like the wind on the open prairie. This little fox joins a big success story in the works for wildlife, from the New England cottontail to the Canada lynx, and from the bobwhite quail to the coastal cutthroat trout.

Be part of that success today and in the future you can tell the story to children—right before they race off to a pond to catch leopard frogs, a species that could be saved by the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.

Ask your members of Congress to support the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act!

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