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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Hunting and Fishing: Creating Memories for a Lifetime, and Sustaining Wildlife for Future Generation

Director Dan Asheturky hunting. Credit: USFWS

My first duck hunt was as a teenager in New Mexico, trying to call ducks from a blind along the Rio Grande. It was a cold, wet, and exhausting day - but I was hooked from the minute ducks started coming in over my decoys.

Ever since, when hunting season rolls around, I can’t wait to get my gun and my dog, hitch up my boat and head out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, home to some of the best waterfowl hunting in the world. If the weather is lousy, great! Like all duck hunters, I’ve learned that the worse the weather, the better the hunting will be.

It’s the same for fishing. In the summers, our family would pack up the car and head to one of the national wildlife refuges where my Dad – a 37-year career Fish and Wildlife Service employee – was working. Along with my brothers, I learned to fish at places like Sanibel Island and the bayous of Louisiana.


Small Group Got the Ball Rolling for Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

Coral reef
Coral Reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Jim Maragos/USFWS

This morning, I read The Washington Post story -- http://wapo.st/1upyv3V -- chronicling President Barack Obama’s bold action to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, creating the world’s largest marine reserve fully protected from extractive commercial activity, including commercial fishing.  As I read, my eyes focused on the beautiful and familiar photo of a colorful and vibrant coral reef at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.  I’ve seen that picture many times.  And then, I noticed the photo credit – Jim Maragos. 

Jim is retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where he worked in the remote Pacific Islands as our coral reef ecologist.  He was, and I’m sure still is, a passionate advocate for conservation of these special places.  Seeing his photo gracing Juliet Eilperin’s story reminded me of Jim, and of this immortal quote by Margaret Mead: 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. 


Bad News on Poaching Must Strengthen Our Resolve to Protect African Elephants



A scientific study released recently confirms our worst fears – poachers slaughtered about 100,000 elephants in Africa between 2010 and 2012. This horrific and unsustainable carnage amounts to nearly 7 percent of the population per year – a level that exceeds the natural growth rate of elephant populations.

This week we unveiled a public service campaign developed with National Geographic designed to educate consumers here and abroad about the devastating impact of the ivory trade on elephants. It will be showing on a giant electronic billboard in New York City’s Times Square during September, sending the message to new audiences in the epicenter of U.S. illegal ivory trade on the East Coast.


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