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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Using Cutting Edge Science to Fight Poaching and Illegal Wildlife Trade

World Wildlife Day
World Wildlife Day is taking on trafficking and wildlife crime.

Today is World Wildlife Day, a day set aside to celebrate the incredible diversity of wildlife found across the globe – and to raise awareness of the threats many of these species face from poaching and wildlife trafficking. To mark this day, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is spotlighting a crucial ally in the fight to protect the world’s wildlife and crack down on wildlife crime: The National Wildlife Forensics Lab.

You probably haven’t heard of this lab, tucked away at the foot of the Cascade Mountains in the small town of Ashland, Oregon. But the lab and its forensic experts are world-renowned for their work to identify the perpetrators of wildlife crime and help law enforcement agencies bring them to justice.

Our Wildlife Forensics Laboratory takes your questions live.

Today, you have a rare opportunity to learn about the Forensics Lab and how it has become a vital part of the global fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking. We’re hosting a LiveStream broadcast from the lab at 1 pm EST, giving you a glimpse into how the lab operates and making our forensic scientists available to answer your questions.


Celebrating a Milestone in Conservation – the Recovery of the Oregon Chub


An Oregon chub swims at William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge in Corvallis, Oregon. Photo by Rick Swart, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


A winter storm grounded me in Washington Tuesday, keeping me from traveling to Portland to mark the recovery of the Oregon chub. But no amount of snow can keep me from celebrating this milestone in conservation history.

As small as the 3-inch chub is, it will forever be known for a giant accomplishment – becoming the first fish ever removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife because of recovery.


A Coordinated Federal Approach to Combating Wildlife Trafficking

We live in a world with elephants. Will our children? Photo Credit: Gary M. Stolz/USFWS

By Dan Ashe, John Cruden and Catherine Novelli

“Did you ever get to see an elephant in the wild before they became extinct?”  This is a question children may soon be asking unless we take immediate action.  Wildlife trafficking – not just of elephants, but also of rhinos, tigers, great apes, exotic birds and many other species – has exploded in recent years to become a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise with increasingly grave and potentially irreversible consequences.  The scourge of wildlife trafficking threatens conservation efforts, national security, the rule of law, regional stability and the sustainable livelihoods of communities.  So what are we doing to stop this problem?    

Today, the United States launched an implementation plan for the President’s National Strategy for Combatting Wildlife Trafficking, which will be a roadmap to fighting poaching and illegal wildlife trade.  The plan focuses on three key areas:  strengthening law enforcement domestically and globally, reducing demand, and building international cooperation.  Wildlife trafficking is a global problem that demands a global solution.  We are determined to be a part of that solution, and we will continue to work closely in our efforts with foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, community leaders, and civil society to achieve this goal. 


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