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RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 5) - Wildlife conservation efforts aren't usually associated with income tax forms, but a North Carolina program allows contributions to be made to a successful program when filing state returns.

By checking line No. 26 on your North Carolina income tax form, you can help conserve nongame wildlife - animals that are neither hunted nor fished - and their habitats.

Donations made through the tax check-off program are a significant source of funding for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Wildlife Diversity Program. The program does not receive any general fund dollars to conduct conservation work across the state. Instead, the program relies upon federal and private grants, revenue from the sale of specialty wildlife license plates, and generous contributions of portions of individual income tax refunds.

"The Wildlife Diversity Program's work to conserve wildlife and their habitats across the state is critical to ensuring that future generations of North Carolinians can enjoy clean water, wild places, and abundant wildlife," said Chris McGrath, Wildlife Diversity Program coordinator. "Our fellow citizens' income tax refund contributions are an absolutely critical piece of the funding towards those efforts."

If you are not eligible for a refund, but would still like to contribute, donations can be sent to: Non-game and Endangered Wildlife Fund, 1722 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-1722. All donations are tax-deductible.

The peregrine falcon and bald eagle have been successfully reintroduced in North Carolina and now live and breed from the mountains to the coast, thanks to income tax check-off contributions to the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund.

"Biologists with the Wildlife Resources Commission have also used tax check-off donations to support projects such as: monitoring and protecting sea turtle nests, acquisition and management of numerous colonial waterbird nesting colony islands, research and monitoring of freshwater mussels to promote clean water for our future, protection of critical bat roosts, research to determine the status of salamanders and songbirds and dozens of other projects designed to further understanding of the natural world and point us towards a future with clean water, abundant natural habitat, and bountiful wildlife populations to enrich our lives," said McGrath.
 

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