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Stories from the Home Page

Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Federal Agencies Finalize Revised Rules to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act

February 5, 2016

Building on the success of the Obama Administration in improving regulations and in implementing the Endangered Species Act in new and innovative ways, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service today finalized a policy and two rules that will provide a clearer, more consistent and predictable process for designating critical habitat.

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Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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Service Seeks Entries for 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

February 3, 2016

Kids across the nation are encouraged to grab pens, pencils, paints and pastels to create entries for the 2016 Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. The competition, an integral part of the 11th annual national Endangered Species Day celebration, provides school children in kindergarten through 12th grade an opportunity to learn about threatened and endangered wildlife while expressing their support for conservation efforts through creative artwork.

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Kentucky arrow darter by David Starovoytov, grand prize winner of the 2015 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Credit: David Starovoytov
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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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Service Seeks Comments on a Proposal to Remove Two Australian Parakeets from the Endangered Species List

January 21, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposed rule to remove the scarlet-chested parakeet and the turquoise parakeet from the list of endangered species. The agency is taking this action to offer interested parties an opportunity to comment on whether removing these species is still warranted and to ensure our determination is based on the best information available.

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Turquoise parakeet. Credit: Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
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Northern pintails gather on a marsh at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Emmons / USFWS
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Refuge Manager Views Wildlife Through Photographer's Lens

January 21, 2016

A photographer himself, Steve Emmons, refuge manager for two of the five refuges within Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex, has focused on bringing photographers to the refuge by building a system of photo outlooks that draw in professional and amateur shutterbugs alike. “We have people coming in from Maine, Florida, even Europe”, says Emmons.

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Northern pintails gather on a marsh at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Emmons / USFWS
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Director Dan Ashe signs the agency’s revised Native American Policy at a ceremony attended by tribal representatives from across the continent. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Revised Policy Strengthens Service–Native American Tribal Collaboration for Conservation of Shared Natural Heritage

January 20, 2016

Native American leaders and Service officials today celebrated completion of the agency’s revised policy guiding government-to-government relations between tribes and the agency. Sixteen tribes worked with Service representatives for more than two years to revise the policy, which in Service Director Dan Ashe’s words “will foster and nurture relationships with tribes and honor the mutual trust of guardianship we hold for decades to come.” 

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Director Dan Ashe signs the agency’s revised Native American Policy at a ceremony attended by tribal representatives from across the continent. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Winter has arrived at Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges. Credit: Jacob Randa / USFWS
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Celebrate the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Your National Wildlife Refuge

January 15, 2016

In honor of Dr. King, all National Wildlife Refuges, like most of your public lands, will waive admission fees on Monday January 18. There is at least one refuge in every state and one within an hour's drive of most major metropolitan areas. If Monday doesn’t work for you, most refuges have no entrance fee, so any day is a good time to visit a refuge.

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Winter has arrived at Illinois River National Wildlife and Fish Refuges. Credit: Jacob Randa / USFWS
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Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Steve Taylor, University of Illinois
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Protections Finalized for Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bats

January 13, 2016

In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the Service announced a final rule today that uses the flexibilities of the Endangered Species Act to protect areas affected by white-nose syndrome, the primary threat to the bat. The rule will also minimize regulatory requirements on activities by landowners, land managers, government agencies and others within the species’ range that do not impact northern long-eared bat populations.

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Northern long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Steve Taylor, University of Illinois
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Rough-skinned newt Credit: Teal Waterstrat (USFWS) Credit: Teal Waterstrat / USFWS
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Service Helps Protect Native Salamanders from Deadly Fungus

January 12, 2016

To help prevent a fatal fungus from killing native salamanders, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing an interim rule to list 201 salamander species as injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act. The fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, also known as Bsal or salamander chytrid, is carried on the skin of various salamander species and poses an imminent threat to U.S. native salamander populations. The fungus is not yet known to be found in the United States, and to help ensure it remains that way, the Service is publishing an interim rule that will take effect on January 28, 2016. 

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Rough-skinned newt Credit: Teal Waterstrat (USFWS) Credit: Teal Waterstrat / USFWS
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Snow geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Marvin De Jong
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Super Bird Fests at National Wildlife Refuges

January 12, 2016

New birder or old hand? No matter. It’s hard not to be moved by the sight of more birds erupting in flight than you’ve ever seen in your life. National wildlife refuges make great festival sites because so many of these special places are located along the country’s key migratory bird routes. Many festivals coincide with spring or fall migration. Here are some great refuge bird festivals to catch in 2016. The National Wildlife Refuge System protects natural habitat for America's treasured wildlife species.

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Snow geese at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Marvin De Jong
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A coyote in hoar frost at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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National Wildlife Refuges: Conserving the Future for all Americans

January 12, 2016

The refuge system provides unparalleled opportunities for people of all ages in every state to experience the great outdoors and all it has to offer, while ensuring we pass on our spectacular wildlife heritage to our children and grandchildren. Learn about some of the unique animals and plants that refuges protect and what else these places have to offer in the latest issue of Refuge Update.

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A coyote in hoar frost at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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West Indian manatee. Credit: S. Whitcraft / USFWS
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Service to Reclassify West Indian Manatee from Endangered to Threatened

January 7, 2016

The future looks a little bit brighter for the West Indian manatee, with populations recovering from historic lows. There is still more to be done to recover this fascinating mammal, but in recognition of the improvements so far, we have proposed downlisting it from Endangered to Threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That means ESA protections will remain in place, but its listing status will better reflect its condition in the wild.

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West Indian manatee. Credit: S. Whitcraft / USFWS
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One of the largest conservation efforts in U.S. history kept the greater sage-grouse off the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS
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Endangered Species Act Moments in 2015 Worth Revisiting

December 31, 2015

The Endangered Species Act shone in 2015, helping threatened and endangered species across the globe. These milestones reaffirm both the importance of the act and our commitment to working with partners to conserve imperiled animals, plants and their habitats.

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One of the largest conservation efforts in U.S. history kept the greater sage-grouse off the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Credit: Jeannie Stafford / USFWS
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Salmon Camp Director Kari Eschenbacher joins Payton Callahan (fourth from left, back row) and other campers. Credit: Nicci Condon / USFWS
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Science Trumps Swing Set

December 30, 2015

What would compel a third-grader to skip the swing sets and spend recess chatting with a substitute teacher? All it takes is a teacher who doubles as director for Salmon Camp at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and a student who spent part of her summer at the popular science camp.

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Salmon Camp Director Kari Eschenbacher joins Payton Callahan (fourth from left, back row) and other campers. Credit: Nicci Condon / USFWS
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Service Releases 2015 List of Candidates for Endangered Species Act Protection

December 23, 2015

The Service today released the Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly status appraisal of plants and animals that are candidates for Endangered Species Act protection. Two species were removed from the list, and two changed in priority from the last review, conducted in December 2014, including the whitebark pine and Hirst Brothers' panic grass. There are now 60 species recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.

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Rehabilitated arapaima in Shedd Aquarium's care. Credit: Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium
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Wildlife Trafficking: What Happens to Confiscated Animals?

December 21, 2015

When people think of wildlife trafficking, they often think of elephant ivory or rhino horn. But trafficking in live animals is also devastating – it not only removes species from their native habitat but also can leave officials with wildlife in need of rescue. In August, the Service turned to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium to help with more than 100 confiscated arapaima, one of the world’s largest freshwater fishes.

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Rehabilitated arapaima in Shedd Aquarium's care. Credit: Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium
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