director Blog : Fallen Comrades

Defending the Defenseless: Plants and Animals

Wildlife agentOur law enforcement officers are dedicated to protecting our natural heritage. Credit: USFWS

Plants and animals have countless and often ingenious ways to deter predators. Monarch butterflies are toxic; turtles have shells; armadillos curl into a ball; cacti have sharp spines. But these defenses aren’t enough to stave off the ultimate predator:  people.

The human intellect and the technology it commands have been able to overcome almost every defense plants and animals can deploy. Which means that the only defense left to our native plants and animals is humanity itself.

For more than a century, dedicated men and women have been willing to put their lives on the line to protect and defend our natural heritage. All of us in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and across the conservation community contribute to this goal in vital ways. But among us, a few assume the responsibility and risk of putting on a badge and a gun to deter and confront the perpetrators of wildlife crime.

As we celebrate National Police Week (May 12-18), I hope we all will take time to reflect on those who dedicate their careers to conservation law enforcement, especially the officers who died to protect our safety.

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Last updated: August 31, 2011