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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

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.


A Century Later, the Passenger Pigeon’s Extinction Has Much to Teach Us

One hundred years ago today – September 1, 1914 – the planet’s last passenger pigeon died in captivity in a Cincinnati zoo.

Passenger pigeon
By some estimates, the species accounted for one quarter of all land birds in the hemisphere. Credit: USFWS

We’ve made enormous progress in conserving our native species and the habitat that supports them. But the passenger pigeon is no less extinct. And for all eternity, the North American landscape will never be the same.


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