By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Two years ago, the U.S. Postal Service launched a stamp to help save wildlife on the brink of extinction.

Stamp for WIldlifeThis quiet program provides an easy way to contribute a few dimes to our buddies in the wild.

The stamp, showing an Amur tiger cub, sells for 55 cents instead of the 45 cents for a regular First-Class stamp. It was intended to raise awareness about wildlife and to raise money for conservation, which is how the Amur tiger was saved from certain extinction a few years ago. Amurs now number about 400, up from 50.

Since Sept. 2011 the stamp has raised $2.3 million for wildlife conservation. Proceeds benefit the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders multinational effort. The program has helped fund grants for tigers, elephants, great apes, rhinos, gorillas, chimpanzees and sea turtles, all of which have critical needs. These animals face dwindling habitat and in some cases, intense poaching.

The Vanishing Wildlife program began with the help of many private donors and is supported by more than a dozen conservation groups such as the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Wildlife Defenders and several groups focused on specific species. George Washington University students also supported the program by handling the initial promotion.

See more about the iconic animals this stamp is helping at the program website.

This terrific program deserves support, and also (warning editorial comment ahead) should be expanded to include North America’s icon bison and wolves.

That could be problematic for the US Fish & Wildlife Department, which is currently proposing to de-list from protections all gray wolves in the U.S. That would ratify what’s already been happening state by state where the Rocky Mountain and Midwestern gray wolves have been removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act and placed on the state lists of trophy game.

Wolves are now hunted in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

We can’t really shoot the wolves, and sell a stamp to save them.

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