On Monday, February 12, President Trump released his proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The African Wildlife Foundation is disappointed in the proposal and considers it a neglectful and shortsighted fiscal blueprint that positions the United States to take a back seat in the global fight to protect wildlife domestically and abroad.
Drastic cuts to the Department of the Interior and the Department of State will shrink vital programs that protect wild animals, wild lands, and assistance to local communities that most closely work to support them. 26.9 percent and 16 percent deductions to these agencies’ budgets, respectively, would put animals like elephants, rhinos, and great apes directly in the crosshairs of extinction. We can’t afford to cut off this vital lifeline of financial assistance to species already facing so much uncertainty.
These programs desperately need adequate funding to continue the important work they’ve carried out for so long, and this proposal represents an embarrassing step back for U.S. leadership on a global stage.
“As responsible global citizens, we can’t allow this budget proposal to pass,” said Jimmiel Mandima, director of program design and partner relations at AWF. “It’s an understatement to say that these cuts would be detrimental to conservation efforts throughout the world and the African continent in particular.”
There are no silver linings in the administration’s proposal, and it presents a lose-lose situation for American citizens and the world’s most vulnerable species and ecosystems.
Government spending reflects the priorities and moral direction of the United States. Neither the American public nor the U.S. government benefits from ceding a leadership role in these conservation efforts. What’s worse is that these cuts could force the U.S. to lose a seat at the table altogether.
The African Wildlife Foundation proposes a call to action for those concerned with the future of Africa’s magnificent wild species. Animals may not have a voice in this fight, but you do.
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