Support Legislation to Stop Wildlife Epidemics
Bats are dying of white-nose syndrome; amphibians are dying of chytrid fungus; and in an even more recent development, eastern rattlesnakes have been dying from a bizarre fungal disease that leaves grotesque lesions on their faces. Across the country and around the globe, incidents of new infectious diseases in wildlife are on the rise. These diseases threaten to drive an array of species extinct.
You can help turn much-needed federal attention on these devastating diseases and save millions of lives by filling out the form below. Tell your senators to pass the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act.
While emerging infectious diseases in humans (SARS, West Nile virus, etc.) are an urgent concern for public-health officials, far less attention has been given to this deepening threat to wildlife -- which also poses clear threats to people in the long run. The slow, stumbling response of state and federal wildlife agencies to white-nose syndrome when it first appeared in the Northeast five years ago is a perfect example. There is no system that rapidly addresses fast-moving wildlife emergencies like new infectious diseases.
In response to this need, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act, Senate Bill 357, last year. The Act would establish a fund to coordinate a rapid response to wildlife disease emergencies and authorize the interior secretary to declare such emergencies as well as create a Wildlife Disease Committee to develop policy and procedures. Rapid-response Teams could also be established to address specific disease issues.
This lifesaving legislation is up for consideration again this year. Please send a letter to your senators today and let them know you support the Act.