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Stories from the Home Page

Schoolchildren test their binoculars for bird watching at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Ridgefield, Washington. Credit: eghan Kearney / USFW
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Where Do You Go to Watch Birds?

October 29, 2014

About 47 million people spent time watching birds in 2011. Spring and fall are some of the best times to see some of their amazing feats of migration. USA Today takes advantage of the fall migration to ask readers to choose their favorite bird-watching spot. National wildlife refuges figure prominently in the nominations.
 

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Schoolchildren test their binoculars for bird watching at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge in Ridgefield, Washington. Credit: eghan Kearney / USFW
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Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are made of the same stuff as fingernails. Credit: Karl Stromayer / USFWS
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Safari Company Owners Charged in Rhino Hunt Scam

October 29, 2014

The owners of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris today were charged with selling illegal rhino hunts to unsuspecting American hunters. The defendants allegedly failed to get required permits and later sold rhino horns on the black market. Demand for rhino horn is soaring: In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa. In 2013, poachers killed more than 1,000. Today's announcement and investigation are part of Operation Crash, an ongoing nationwide effort to halt unlawful trafficking of rhino horns. Since the initial arrest of eight in February 2012, there have been more than two dozen arrests and a dozen convictions.

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Rhinos are killed for their horns, which are made of the same stuff as fingernails. Credit: Karl Stromayer / USFWS
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Florida softshell turtle. Credit: Gabriel Kamener / Creative Commons
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Service Proposes Trade Protections for Four Native Freshwater Turtles

October 29, 2014

A booming international trade in turtles has put pressure on populations across the country and has led to concern about the long-term survival of several species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposed rule to address the growing threat of illegal take and trade in native turtles. If finalized, this action will bring four native freshwater turtle species – the common snapping turtle, the Florida softshell turtle, the smooth softshell turtle and the spiny softshell turtle – under the protection of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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Florida softshell turtle. Credit: Gabriel Kamener / Creative Commons
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A #StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: The Communities of Great Marsh Video. Credit: USFWS
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Service Helps Make Atlantic Coast Stronger After Hurricane Sandy

October 29, 2014

Two years ago today, Hurricane Sandy made landfall, devastating communities along the Atlantic Coast. With $167 million in federal recovery funding, the Fish and Wildlife Service is cleaning up and repairing damaged wildlife refuges, strengthening and restoring beaches, marshes and other natural defenses that sustain wildlife and protect communities, and developing science to better understand and predict impacts to these natural areas.

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Photos from Hurricane Sandy »»

A #StrongAfterSandy Featured Community: The Communities of Great Marsh Video. Credit: USFWS
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An inspector from the Elizabeth, New Jersey, Office of Law Enforcement checks a shipment of dried frogs. Credit: Bill Butcher / USFWS
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Fighting the Odds to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade

October 27, 2014

Darryl Fears of The Washington Post details the struggles of the Service's wildlife Inspectors and special agents as they work to stop illegal wildlife trade. His story points out that the number of Service employees on the ground intercepting illegal trafficking is almost unchanged from 30 years ago, but the job is much harder.

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An inspector from the Elizabeth, New Jersey, Office of Law Enforcement checks a shipment of dried frogs. Credit: Bill Butcher / USFWS
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Pair of male African lions. Credit: Heidi Ruffler / USFWS
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Service Proposes Endangered Species Act Protection for the African Lion

October 27, 2014

Following a review of the best available scientific information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency’s analysis found that lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. African lions are still found across a large range in Africa, but about 70 percent of the current African lion population exists in only 10 major strongholds. “The African lion – a symbol of majesty, courage and strength – faces serious threats to its long-term survival. Listing it as a threatened species will bring the full protections of U.S. law to lion conservation, allowing us to strengthen enforcement and monitoring of imports and international trade,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “It is up to all of us, not just the people of Africa, to ensure that healthy, wild populations continue to roam the savannah for generations to come.”

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Director's Blog - The African Lion Needs Our Help »»

Pair of male African lions. Credit: Heidi Ruffler / USFWS
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Wilderness offers soul-stirring adventures. A hiker celebrates a breathtaking wilderness view atop Chupadera Peak at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: USFWS
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New Vision Will Ensure Future Generations Can Enjoy Wilderness

October 23, 2014

The Service and its federal partner agencies that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System have a new vision that will guide interagency collaboration to ensure the continued preservation of nearly 110 million acres of the most primitive of public lands. The 758 wilderness areas in 44 states and Puerto Rico protect large expanses of habitat that are home to hundreds of native species. The vision will help federal land management agencies protect and expand the benefits of our wilderness areas for people and wildlife at a landscape scale.

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Wilderness offers soul-stirring adventures. A hiker celebrates a breathtaking wilderness view atop Chupadera Peak at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: USFWS
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Regional Director Tom Melius and White Earth Nation Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, along with tribal and refuge architects. Credit: USFWS
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Service, Tribe Collaborate on Law Enforcement

October 23, 2014

Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and the White Earth Nation have signed an agreement to work together on conservation law enforcement activities occurring on Tamarac Refuge. The agreement is a unique collaboration between a Native American tribe and Service law enforcement.

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Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge » »»

Regional Director Tom Melius and White Earth Nation Tribal Chairwoman Erma Vizenor, along with tribal and refuge architects. Credit: USFWS
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More than 25 million stamps were sold in its first two years raising more than $2.5 million for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. Credit: USFWS
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Buy a Stamp; Save a Tiger, an Elephant and Other Imperiled Species

October 21, 2014

After almost a year, the public can again purchase the Save Vanishing Species Stamp at post offices and online. The stamp functions as a regular postal mail stamp that sells at a small premium. The additional money goes to the Service's Multinational Species Conservation Funds, directly funding conservation of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes and marine turtles.

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More than 25 million stamps were sold in its first two years raising more than $2.5 million for the Multinational Species Conservation Funds. Credit: USFWS
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Golden eagle feathers packaged for sale on the black market by feather traffickers were discovered during the investigation. Credit: USFWS
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Operation Silent Wilderness Stems Black Market Trafficking of Eagles, Other Birds

October 21, 2014

Operation Silent Wilderness -- a nationwide investigation by the Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife – successfully disrupted and dismantled a large network of black market wildlife profiteers involved in the trafficking of eagles and other federally protected migratory birds. Recently, the last defendant in the probe was sentenced.

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Summary of Operation Silent Wilderness »»

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Golden eagle feathers packaged for sale on the black market by feather traffickers were discovered during the investigation. Credit: USFWS
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Thumbnail of the monarch emerge from a chrysalis in the wild video. Credit: USFWS
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Service, Partners Line Up to Conserve Monarch Butterfly

October 20, 2014

"The butterfly is in trouble, and it's going to need all the help we can give it," Service Director Dan Ashe tells National Geographic. The Service and partners from across the United States, Mexico and Canada are determined to conserve the well-known butterfly.

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How You can Help: Plant Milkweed »»

Thumbnail of the monarch emerge from a chrysalis in the wild video. Credit: USFWS
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Thumbnail of the Ivory Challenge PSA video. Credit: USFWS
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Crush the Demand: Help Raise Awareness about Poaching’s Devastating Effect on Elephants

October 17, 2014

There’s still time! The submission deadline for the Crushed Ivory Design Challenge has been extended until 11:59 a.m. Dec. 31, 2014. The Service is extending the deadline in response to an overwhelming public request for more time to create thoughtful and informative designs. We urge you and your agency to be a part of this innovative public awareness effort to help save elephants and endangered wildlife.

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Ivory Crush Challenge PSA Video »»

Thumbnail of the Ivory Challenge PSA video. Credit: USFWS
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Pintails are early visitors to the boreal forest. Credit: J. Kelly / USFWS
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Protected Paths: Cross-Continental Journey to Conserve Migratory Birds

October 16, 2014

Follow northern pintails and lesser yellowlegs from their breeding grounds in the far north to wintering sites as far as the tip of South America, and learn how the Service is working to protect these and other migratory birds.

Open Spaces blog »»

Pintails are early visitors to the boreal forest. Credit: J. Kelly / USFWS
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Flights of wintering sandhill cranes arrive daily to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Photo courtesy of Marvin DeJong
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National Wildlife Refuge Week Kicks Off With First Day Fee-Free!

October 15, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invites America to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week (October 12-18, 2014) with a visit to a national wildlife refuge! While there, you can fish, hunt, hike or just immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature. As if you needed another good reason to share in America’s natural heritage, Sunday, October 12, is a fee-free day. Admission fees at wildlife refuges are waived on that day. Learn how wildlife refuges conserve your wildlife heritage and enrich your life, find one by you!

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Flights of wintering sandhill cranes arrive daily to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Credit: Photo courtesy of Marvin DeJong
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Straight-horned markhor. Credit: Peter Hopper / Creative Commons
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Successful Conservation Efforts Result in Reclassification of Rare Pakistani Mountain Goat Under the ESA

October 14, 2014

Thanks to a thirty-year community conservation program in the remote mountains of Pakistan, a key population of the straight-horned markhor, a type of wild mountain goat, has made a remarkable recovery to the point where the subspecies’ status is being reduced from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the Service announced today in a final rule. Today, the population numbers in excess of 3,500 as a result of the Torghar Conservation Project that uses limited trophy hunting as a means to raise critically needed funds for markhor conservation, while improving habitat for both markhor and domestic livestock and improving the economic conditions for the local tribal community.

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Straight-horned markhor. Credit: Peter Hopper / Creative Commons
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