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Stories from the Home Page

A mixed flock of waterfowl takes flight at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Hillebrand / USFWS
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North American Duck Populations Remain Strong, Wetland Pond Conditions Good, According to 2014 Duck Breeding Populations Survey

July 7, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the release of the Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 2014 report, which details this year's results of the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. The survey estimated an overall duck population of 49.2 million birds, an increase of 8 percent over last year's estimate and 43 percent above the long-term average. While concerns over the long-term decline in natural wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region persist, wetland habitat conditions in the duck survey area, which included both natural and artificial ponds expected to maintain water into the summer, were mostly improved or similar to last year due to average to above-average precipitation. 

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A mixed flock of waterfowl takes flight at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Steve Hillebrand / USFWS
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Wood storks are colonial nesters and prefer trees where birds have already built nests. Credit: Becky Skiba / USFWS
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Wood Stork Down-listing Offers Another Conservation Success Story

July 2, 2014

After 30 years of conservation and recovery work, the Fish and Wildlife Service is down-listing the wood stork from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today. When protected in 1984, the bird's population was sinking fast, but efforts by the Service, Southern states, tribes, conservation groups and other stakeholders have restored vital habitat and helped the species double its population since its original listing.

News Release »»

Wood storks are colonial nesters and prefer trees where birds have already built nests. Credit: Becky Skiba / USFWS
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SC3 students remove non-native plants from Town Run at Morgan's Grove Park. Credit: NCTC / USFWS
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Service Shares Conservation Know-How with Young People

July 2, 2014

As part of its commitment to engage young people and prepare the next generation of conservation leaders, the Fish and Wildlife Service has joined forces with the Green Schools Alliance to host the National Student Climate and Conservation Congress (SC3) this week. Through classes, discussions with conservation leaders and scientists, and outdoor projects, SC3 is giving more than 100 high school students conservation leadership skills, an understanding of conservation career opportunities and awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities.

SC3 »»

Green Schools Alliance »»

SC3 students remove non-native plants from Town Run at Morgan's Grove Park. Credit: NCTC / USFWS
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Bald eagle in flight. Credit: USFWS
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Service Seeks Public Input on Eagle Management Objectives, Non-Purposeful Take Permits

June 27, 2014

The bald eagle's recovery from near extinction in the lower 48 states is an American success story, and the Service remains committed to the conservation of bald and golden eagles. Today the Service announced it will engage the public as it works to revise a rule governing how permits are issued for the non-purposeful take of bald and golden eagles. The Service will host five public information meetings in various locations around the country and open a 90-day public comment period.

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Federal Register »»

Bald eagle in flight. Credit: USFWS
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The plea by Ning Qiu is just the latest victory for the Service's Operation Crash, an ongoing law enforcement effort to halt the illegal trade in rhino horn and other wildlife parts and products. Credit: Karl Stromayer / USFWS
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Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Rhino and Ivory Smuggling Conspiracy

June 27, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Justice announced that Ning Qiu, a resident of Frisco, Texas, pleaded guilty in federal court to participating in an illegal wildlife smuggling conspiracy, in violation of the Lacey Act. Qiu facilitated the illegal transport of nearly $1 million-worth of rhinoceros horns, and objects made from rhino horn and elephant ivory from the United States to China. As part of the plea agreement, the government agreed to recommend a 25-month prison sentence and a $150,000 fine due Qiu's cooperation and assistance in securing a conviction for Zhifei Li, the admitted "boss" of the conspiracy.

News Release (DOJ) »»

The plea by Ning Qiu is just the latest victory for the Service's Operation Crash, an ongoing law enforcement effort to halt the illegal trade in rhino horn and other wildlife parts and products. Credit: Karl Stromayer / USFWS
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A HECHO poll shows strong Latino support for conservation. Credit: HECHO
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Latinos Help Make Conservation Happen

June 26, 2014

A recent poll for HECHO – Hispanics Enjoying Camping Hunting and Outdoors – shows how strongly Latinos value public lands, and the Service is dedicated to bringing the voices of such nontraditional but highly valuable stakeholders as HECHO to the table with us to discuss conservation.

Director's Blog »»

HECHO »»

Poll Results »»

A HECHO poll shows strong Latino support for conservation. Credit: HECHO
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Albert Lapahie, a wildlife technician with the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, holds a razorback sucker. Credit: San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program
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Razorback Suckers Return to Grand Canyon

June 25, 2014

Researchers recently discovered larval Razorback suckers, an endangered fish, in the lower Colorado River within Grand Canyon National Park. The findings indicate that these fish may be naturally reproducing in an area where the species has not been seen in more than 20 years. The Service and multiple partners have worked steadily on recovery of the Razorback sucker, including breeding and stocking hundreds of thousands of individual fish to augment wild populations.

News Release (DOI) »»

Razorback Sucker Species Profile »»

Grand Canyon National Park's Fisheries Program »»

Albert Lapahie, a wildlife technician with the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, holds a razorback sucker. Credit: San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program
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Silverback gorilla. Credit: Bradford Duplisea CC BY-NC-ND 2
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Oil Company Stops Exploration in Virunga National Park; Gorillas, Elephants Benefit

June 20, 2014

British oil company Soco has announced it will stop oil exploration in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga, a World Heritage Site, is home to nearly half of the 700 mountain gorillas in the world, plus forest elephants, hippos, birds and more. In 2013, the Service signed a five-year cooperative agreement with the Virunga Fund Inc., which will invest more than $290,000 and leverage $3.35 million in additional funds. Service support for conservation in and around Virunga since 2006 includes 25 projects totaling more than $2.6 million.

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Learn about our International Program »»

Silverback gorilla. Credit: Bradford Duplisea CC BY-NC-ND 2
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Monarch butterfly on an aster, John Heinz NWR. Credit: Rick L. Hansen / USFWS
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Celebrate Bats, Bees, Beetles and Other Species During National Pollinator Week: June 16-22

June 20, 2014

Do you like chocolate, almonds, honey, fruits, flowers and vegetables? Pollinators -- most bees and some birds, bats and other insects -- play a crucial role in flowering plant reproduction and in the production of most fruits and vegetables. These hard-working animals help make possible more than 75 percent of our flowering plants and nearly 75 percent of our crops. There are simple things you can do at home to encourage pollinator diversity and abundance, including planting a pollinator garden and avoiding or limiting pesticide use.

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Open Spaces Blog »»

Monarch butterfly on an aster, John Heinz NWR. Credit: Rick L. Hansen / USFWS
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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland is one of 54 project sites that will benefit from Department of the Interior grants announced today. Credit: Ray Paterra / USFWS
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Interior Secretary Announces $102 Million to Help Atlantic Coast Communities Withstand Future Storms

June 20, 2014

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced $102 million in funding to improve Atlantic coastal resiliency in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Projects will restore marsh, beach and riparian habitat that help strengthen coasts to withstand future storms and sea-level rise predicted with a changing climate, benefiting both wildlife and coastal communities. Techniques include eradicating invasive species, restoring hydrology by removing barriers such as dams that pose flood risks and prevent fish migration, and reusing dredge materials and rock to create and restore habitat. Many of the 54 projects selected will complement U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts already underway along the Atlantic Coast.

News Release (DOI) »»

Hurricane Sandy Recovery »»

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland is one of 54 project sites that will benefit from Department of the Interior grants announced today. Credit: Ray Paterra / USFWS
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Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Agencies Extend Public Comment Period on Proposed ESA Critical Habitat Regulations

June 20, 2014

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service – the two federal agencies responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act – are extending the public comment periods on two rules and a policy to improve the process of designating areas of “critical habitat” and consulting on the effects of federal actions on critical habitat.

Bulletin »»

Improving ESA »»

Karner blue butterfly. Credit: Joel Trick / USFWS
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Tri-colored bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Bruce Schuette/MDC
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Service Awards $1.8 Million in Grants for Work on Deadly Bat Disease

June 18, 2014

The Service announced  $1.8 million in grants for the research and management of white-nose syndrome, a fungal infection that has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America. Funding was granted to projects that will help scientists better understand and respond to the disease. 

News Release »»

Tri-colored bat with white-nose syndrome. Credit: Bruce Schuette/MDC
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Bats roosting under bridge. Credit: Nick Gikas / Indiana State University
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Fungus that Causes Deadly Bat Disease Discovered in Mississippi

June 17, 2014

The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome (WNS) in hibernating bats was recently discovered for the first time in Mississippi. So far, only the fungus has been confirmed, not the disease itself. Since its detection in New York in 2007, WNS has been confirmed in 25 states and five Canadian Provinces, decimating many bat populations. Winter bat colonies in some states have declined by more than 90 percent.

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Bats roosting under bridge. Credit: Nick Gikas / Indiana State University
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A tower of ivory tusks waits to be destroyed during the Service's Ivory Crush in November. Credit: Gavin Shire / USFWS
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FWS Applauds 'Antiques Roadshow' for Ending Appraisals of Carved Elephant Tusks

June 16, 2014

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe called the recent move by Antiques Roadshow to stop showing appraisals of carved ivory tusks "a significant step forward in ensuring that U.S. consumers don't contribute to the current global crisis in African elephant poaching and illegal trade of elephant ivory." Antiques Roadshow is a strong partner in explaining how antiques can add to illegal wildlife trafficking by feeding consumer demand for elephant ivory and other wildlife products.

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A tower of ivory tusks waits to be destroyed during the Service's Ivory Crush in November. Credit: Gavin Shire / USFWS
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Climate change impacts such as warming water, decreased flows and depleted oxygen levels are predicted to stress fish populations and impact recreational fishing. Credit: George Gentry/ USFWS
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Director Ashe Testifies on Climate Change Impacts

June 13, 2014

Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe testifies before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy on the impacts of climate change to hunting and fishing opportunities in the United States. The Director has also written a blog on the need to act on climate change.

Watch the hearing (via C-SPAN3) »»

Director Ashe's Blog »»

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Climate change impacts such as warming water, decreased flows and depleted oxygen levels are predicted to stress fish populations and impact recreational fishing. Credit: George Gentry/ USFWS
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