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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Trip to Africa Steels Resolve

elephants
Photo by Dan Ashe/USFWS

I had the tremendous good fortune to travel to Gabon last month to meet with partners and witness some of the impressive on-the-ground conservation efforts there to protect a stunning diversity of wildlife. The men and women in Gabon “get” that extinct means extinct, gone forever. They are hard at work to keep the natural treasures of the country alive and well, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is privileged to help support their efforts.

Here is my journal from the trip. Be sure to check the Flickr album with some photos of the trip:

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Protecting the Chimpanzee Here and Abroad

I recently returned from Africa, where I saw firsthand the threats facing many of the continent’s most beloved wildlife species. Meeting with dedicated people and organizations working on the ground to protect wild populations of elephants, rhinos, and great apes helped me understand just how much the support and leadership of the United States means in this fight.

But it was the wild chimpanzees I didn’t see, actually, that reinforced what the Fish and Wildlife Service’s exhaustive, two year-long review of the status of the chimpanzee has found. Our recent review confirms that the chimpanzee is in trouble, and needs strong Endangered Species Act protections both in the wild and in captivity.

Mother and baby chimp climbing in tree. The baby is touching its mother's chin.
Chimpanzees Bahati and her baby Baroza at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. Credit: © the Jane Goodall Institute

That’s why we’ve taken action to protect all chimpanzees as endangered. 

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Seeds Well Planted – for All Americans to Harvest

When I think back on the events that shaped my outlook on life, and the values that guided me to where I am today, I inevitably return to my experiences in the field and on the water as a hunter, angler and boater.

I’m proud of my achievements in the classroom and as a biologist. But that education truly began in the outdoors, guided by my father and other sportsmen and women.

Hunting with my Dad and brothers taught me the importance of preparation. Selecting the right spot to hunt. Setting your blind and decoys strategically. Learning and practicing calls.

fishing
Dan with a shad. Photo by USFWS

Fishing taught me persistence. Some days you go out and don’t get a bite. Others, you lose your favorite fly or fail to land the big one. But still, you head out and cast the line, waiting for a strike.

Boating taught me attention to detail. Whether you own a bass boat, a skipjack or a flat-bottomed jonboat, you have to maintain it rigorously. You have to understand nautical charts and navigation intimately, and account for the weather whenever you’re out on the water.

Most of all, spending time in the outdoors taught me the value of discipline – and the rewards of working toward a larger goal. Nature functions across seasons and generations – it doesn’t accommodate our desire for instant gratification.

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