To quote the group's website, "WildlifeConservationStamp.org is a collaborative effort to promote a new wildlife stamp and funding stream for our National Wildlife Refuges. We are birders, photographers, conservationists, wildlife rehabilitators, scientists, teachers and artists ... joined by a common passion and concern for our nation's wildlife and wild habitats.
"We propose the Wildlife Conservation Stamp to provide a consistent source of income for our Refuges, separate but parallel to the current Federal Duck Stamp program. The Wildlife Conservation Stamp would raise fees from the millions of non-consumptive users, wildlife viewers and conservationists ..."
Sounds just like a Duck Stamp, except the new stamp ignores hunters. One comment on the website articulates this bias thusly: "I never did buy Duck Stamps because I felt it misrepresented my interests and goals for the use of the funds. This would be a great idea, especially if it were targeted and directed to strictly non-extractive nature pursuits ... But, would it still be supporting hunter's interests with these funds? That is why I don't buy the Duck Stamp. Would this just be a Duck Stamp with another name, or would the funds actually go towards conservation of wildlife, habitat, and non-extractive enjoyment of nature? What would the difference be?"
Unfortunately, the ignorance illustrated by the above comment is appallingly common. Such comments fail to understand that most species that thrive on refuges are not hunted. Duck Stamp dollars support all species, not just hunted waterfowl.
Furthermore, a conservation stamp has been tried before. It was just one of many ideas floated to fund the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1980, which was intended to support and manage nongame species. Birders and other watchers never rallied around previous suggestions for a conservation stamp. And manufacturers and retailers of outdoor-related products opposed new taxes on their products to support wildlife conservation.
But for $15, anyone can be a conservationist. Just buy a Duck Stamp.
Contact Shalaway at sshala...@aol.com or 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033.