A wildlife inspector examines a shipment. Credit: USFWS
A wildlife inspector examines a shipment. Credit: USFWS

Head of Florida Auction House Sent to Prison as Operation Crash Gets Another Wildlife Trafficker off the Streets

May 21, 2015

Christopher Hayes, the President and owner of Florida auction house Elite Estate Buyers Inc., has been sentenced to three years in prison followed by two years of supervised release for his role in an illegal wildlife smuggling conspiracy that bought, sold and smuggled rhinoceros horns and objects made from rhino horn, elephant ivory and imperiled coral from the United States to China. Elite was fined $1.5 million and banned from trading wildlife for five years. The prosecution of Elite and Hayes is part of Operation Crash, an ongoing nationwide criminal investigation led by the Service that is fighting any U.S. involvement in the black market rhino horn trade.
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Louisiana black bear on Avery Island, La. Credit: Pam McIlhenny
Louisiana black bear on Avery Island, La. Credit: Pam McIlhenny

Service Announces Proposed Delisting of the Louisiana Black Bear Due to Recovery

May 20, 2015
The Service today proposed removing the Louisiana black bear from the list of species protected under the Endangered Species Act, due to its recovery. The announcement follows more than 20 years of successful collaborations between the Service, Louisiana Department of Wildlife, private landowners and other stakeholder groups working together to address threats facing the bear, such as loss of habitat.
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The organizations planted trees to commemorate the partnership. Credit: Tom MacKenzie / USFWS
The organizations planted trees to commemorate the partnership. Credit: Tom MacKenzie / USFWS

Partnership at Bayou Sauvage Refuge to Stand as Model as Service, Phi Beta Sigma Work to Engage Urban Youth

May 20, 2015
The Service and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. signed the first local agreement implementing a partnership to encourage urban youth to learn more about conservation, the natural world, and biological sciences. The certificate declares Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, which lies within and on the boundary of New Orleans East, a model partner site for the efforts with Phi Beta Sigma.
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Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Register Notices Final RuleFinal Rule Proposed RuleProposed Rule NoticeNotice
Proposed Rule 5/21/15. Refuge-Specific Regulations; Public Use; Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Proposed Rule 5/21/15. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear
Final Rule 5/21/15. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions