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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Endangered Species Day: A Celebration of Success

We can all be part of local Endangered Species Day events that will educate and motivate others, and we can all work to further the recovery of endangered, threatened and at-risk species.

Today, May 16, is Endangered Species Day, and it is a day to celebrate the amazing conservation successes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), one of our most vital tools for protecting our nation’s endangered, threatened and at-risk species. 

Our nation’s rich diversity of fish, wildlife, and plant resources symbolizes America’s richness and promise. If we do great harm to the environment in pursuing our ambitions for wealth today, then we run the risk of impoverishing our children and grandchildren tomorrow – not to mention ourselves. 

The ESA represents a firm commitment to safeguard our natural resources not only for future generations but also for the many benefits we gain from healthy ecosystems. 

Fla panther

The Florida panther was federally listed as an endangered species in 1967 and ultimately under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Photo by Larry Richardson/USFWS

And guard our resources it has. The ESA is credited with saving 99 percent of those species listed from extinction. 


Conservation Law Enforcement Protects Us, Not Just Wildlife

As Americans, we are blessed with not only a magnificent diversity of plant and animal life, but also strong laws that protect them – laws such as the Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and others, the strength and breadth of which are unparalleled the world over. Like all laws, though, these statutes are only as good as our ability to enforce them, and for that, we are incredibly fortunate to have the men and women of the Service’s Office of Law Enforcement and the National Wildlife Refuge System Law Enforcement Division. 

inspectorWildlife Inspectors are stationed at wildlife ports of entry around the country. Photo by Bill Butcher/USFWS

These officers put on uniform, badge and gun to protect not just our most valuable asset –the natural world around us – but also us as we venture out into it. They ensure that our rivers are unpolluted, our air clean and our wild lands free from criminal activity.

Our K9 Program helps officers by providing specialized skills in crime prevention and in tactical situations, such as locating wildlife and contraband. They are used for tracking people and search and rescue, as well as the full gamut of police related functions. A canine partner provides officer protection and is proven to reduce injuries to law enforcement officers. Dogs are also used to detect illegal wildlife shipments.

Conservation ensures wildlife and other natural resources are available to us and the generations that will follow. And if we do not address certain vital problems today, they will cause devastation tomorrow. Problems such as poaching and the illegal wildlife trade – both homegrown and international. Our law enforcement officers are on the front lines of that fight, stopping illegal trade and cross-border transport while allowing legal trade and the benefit that provides to the world economy to continue.


Celebrating Birds this International Migratory Bird Day and Every Day


My brothers and I spent a lot of time outside when we were growing up, and for us – as for many others – early May meant our chance to see some of the hundreds of millions of birds migrating north. They journey for many miles over land and water throughout North America. During their travels, they may stop in our National Wildlife Refuges, city parks, and urban and rural backyards, as well as other habitats. So no matter where you are, you have a chance to see migrating birds.

This spring we celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. The most important and spectacular event in the life of a migratory bird – its annual voyage between its summer and winter homes – is celebrated in Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America through bird festivals, bird walks and education programs. While typically celebrated on the second Saturday of May, celebrating birds is not just a day.  Birds can be celebrated 365 days a year.

This year’s theme for International Migratory Bird Day – The Benefits of Birds to Humans and Nature – shares the many ways in which birds matter to the earth, to ecosystems and, of course, to us.  


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