[Federal Register: April 20, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 77)]
[Page 21206-21207]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

The Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1998; Request for 
Public Input Into the Development and Execution of an Educational 
Outreach Program Action Plan; Announcement of Two Public Meetings

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 was amended 
in 1998 to prohibit the sale, importation, or exportation of products 
labeled or advertised as containing rhinoceros or tiger products, and 
to carry out an associated educational outreach program. Prior to 
developing and carrying out such an educational outreach effort, we 
seek input and guidance from the public on the needed components for 
such an effort. To guide this effort, we have developed a draft interim 
educational plan with the goals of a long-term plan clearly identified 
but action items developed only for a short time frame until we can 
meet with the public and solicit input for the development of future 
action items.
    With this notice, we request your comments and input on the draft 
Educational Outreach Program Interim Action Plan and seek partnerships 
to carry out the final plan, and we announce two public meetings to 
discuss the draft Educational Outreach Program Interim Action Plan and 
suggested modifications for future activities under a long-term plan.

DATES: (1) Draft Educational Outreach Program Interim Action Plan 
review: If you wish to view a copy of the draft Educational Outreach 
Program Interim Action Plan, please submit a written request for a copy 
of this document to the address listed below within 30 days of the date 
of publication of this notice. We will consider written comments and 
suggestions you submit regarding the Educational Outreach Program 
Interim Action Plan if we receive them by June 19, 2000.
    (2) Public Meetings: You are invited to participate in one or both 
of our Educational Outreach Action Plan public meetings, one to be held 
on the east coast on May 18, 2000, 1:30-4:30 p.m., and the second to be 
held on the west coast on June 4, 2000, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: (1) Educational Outreach Program Interim Action Plan review: 
Office of Management Authority; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
North Fairfax Drive; Room 700; Arlington, VA 22203. Comments on the 
draft Educational Outreach Program Interim Action Plan may be submitted 
by any one of several methods. You may mail comments to the above 
address. You may also comment via E-mail to r9oma__cites@fws.gov. 
Please submit E-mail comments as an ASCII file, avoiding the use of 
special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1998'' and your name 
and return address in your E-mail message. If you do not receive a 
confirmation from the system that we have received your E-mail message, 
contact us directly at the telephone number listed below. Finally, you 
may hand-deliver comments to the above address.
    Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, at the above address.
    (2) Public Meetings: The two public meetings will be held (see 
DATES above) to discuss the Educational Outreach Action Plan. The first 
meeting will be held in New York at The College of Insurance, 101 
Murray Street, New York, NY and the second in San Francisco at The 
Galleria Park Hotel, 191 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA.
    Directions to either location can be obtained by contacting the 
Office of Management Authority (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
below). Please note that both locations are accessible to the 
handicapped and all persons planning to attend the meeting will be 
required to present photo identification when entering the building. 
Persons planning to attend the meeting who require interpretation for 
the hearing impaired should notify the Office of Management Authority 
as soon as possible.

Management Authority, Branch of CITES Operations, phone 703/358-2095, 
fax 703/358-2298, E-mail: r9oma__cites@fws.gov.



    Congress passed the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 
(the Act) to assist in the conservation of rhinoceroses and tigers by 
supporting critical conservation programs in nations whose activities 
directly or indirectly affect rhino and tiger populations. The Act also 
established the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund to provide 
financial resources for on-the-ground conservation programs and to 
promote education to increase public awareness of the plight of rhinos 
and tigers in the wild.
    Rhinoceroses and tigers are among the most critically endangered 
large mammals in the world and are the focus of extensive global 
conservation efforts aimed at halting their decline. Consumer demand 
for and trade in the parts and products of these species supply luxury 
markets as well as markets for cultural and medicinal needs. One of the 
most complex and far-reaching of these demands is for use in 
traditional medicines.
    Commercial international trade of raw rhino horn and tiger bone and 
their derivative products is prohibited by the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES), in addition to domestic legislation in the United States and 
China. The Act of 1994 was amended and strengthened by the Rhinoceros 
and Tiger Conservation Act of 1998, which (a) outlined specific trade 
prohibitions of rhino and tiger products and (b) mandated a national 
educational outreach program.
    (a) The Act of 1998 ``prohibits the sale, importation, exportation, 
or attempts to sell, import, or export, any product, item, or substance 
intended for human consumption or application, containing, or labeled 
or advertised as containing, any substance derived from any species of 
rhinoceros or tiger.''

[[Page 21207]]

Further, specific criminal and civil penalties for violating this law 
are included, as well as enforcement strategies. This Act sets 
prohibitions on items labeled or advertised as containing rhino or 
tiger products, even if the presence of rhino and tiger ingredients 
cannot be verified scientifically. These new prohibitions will reduce 
the promotion of these ingredients in consumer products, thereby 
decreasing consumer demand and potentially benefitting the species in 
the wild.
    (b) The amended Act also requires that the Secretary of the 
Interior develop and carry out an educational outreach program in the 
United States for the conservation of rhinoceros and tiger species. The 
contents of the Educational Outreach Program Action Plan will include:
    (1) Guidelines for the National Educational Outreach Program;
    (2) Active pursuit of opinions from organizations and people 
actively involved in the traditional medicines trade;
    (3) Aggressive advertising of the laws protecting rhinoceros and 
tiger species, focusing on the laws prohibiting trade in products 
containing, or labeled or advertised as containing, their parts or 
    (4) Widespread distribution of information regarding the negative 
effects of the toxics and heavy metals found in some packaged 
traditional medicines; and
    (5) Information on the status of rhinoceros and tiger species 
populations and the reasons for protecting the species.
    Through this Federal Register notice and the two scheduled public 
meetings, we are seeking public input into the development and 
execution of the Educational Outreach Program Action Plan. Our practice 
is to make comments, including names and addresses of respondents, 
available for public review during regular business hours. Individual 
respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the 
public record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. In 
limited circumstances, we would withhold from release a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state this clearly at the beginning of your 
comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We generally 
make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
    We hope to work closely with the nonprofit conservation community 
and traditional medicine communities as well as the public in creating 
a strong outreach plan and carrying out the contents of that plan. We 
recognize that a number of groups are already actively involved in 
educating the public about rhinoceros and tiger products and the 
conservation of these species, and we wish to integrate our efforts 
with theirs. Partnerships hold the key to successfully informing the 
public about the conservation needs of rhinoceros and tiger species. We 
are looking to identify partner organizations that we can work with in 
carrying out the long-term objectives and actions of a national 
outreach plan. The purpose of the two scheduled public meetings is to 
solicit additional public input into the completion of a final 
Educational Outreach Program Action Plan, as well as to serve as a 
starting point for future interactions with communities that have 
historically used products containing rhino horn and tiger part 
derivatives. After receiving public input, we will develop a long-term 
national educational outreach plan and program that will rely strongly 
on public involvement in its future implementation.

    Author: This notice was prepared by Cynthia Perera and Anne St. 
John, Office of Management Authority, under the authority of The 
Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 5301).

    Dated: April 7, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-9914 Filed 4-19-00; 8:45 am]