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Stories from the Home Page

UAO TV team with Director Dan Ashe, WSFR AD Hannibal Bolton, and Kansas State Senator David Haley. Credit: Urban America Outdoor TV
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USFWS Teams up With Urban American Outdoors TV

February 26, 2014

Service Director Dan Ashe and Asst. Director for the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Hannibal Bolton appeared on the Urban American Outdoors Show to talk about the Service's mission and the importance of engaging urban audiences in conservation and outdoor activities. Director Ashe, Asst. Director Bolton and show host Wayne Hubbard spoke to an audience of young urban kids and took them fishing at a local pond.

Watch the Show »»

UAO TV team with Director Dan Ashe, WSFR AD Hannibal Bolton, and Kansas State Senator David Haley. Credit: Urban America Outdoor TV
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The illegal trade in ivory is placing African elephant populations in crisis Credit: Gary Stolz / USFWS
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Service Tightens Trade in Elephant Ivory

February 26, 2014

Service Director Dan Ashe has issued a Director’s Order tightening controls on the trade of elephant ivory and other products made from protected species. The Order is the first in a series of administrative actions to further restrict commercialization of elephant ivory as called for in the Administration’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Shortly after signing the Order, Director Ashe testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the National Strategy. Also testifying were Assistant Secretary Kerri-Ann Jones and the Department of Justice's Assistant Attorney General Robert G. Dreher, together representing the three co-chairing agencies of the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking.

Director's Order »»

Questions & Answers »»

Oral Testimony of Director Ashe »»

Written Testimony of Director Ashe »»

Learn more about our efforts to stop wildlife trafficking »»

The illegal trade in ivory is placing African elephant populations in crisis Credit: Gary Stolz / USFWS
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Urban areas offer opportunities to engage youth in study of birds. Credit: Earth Conservation Corp.
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Urban Bird Treaties Highlight Importance of Our Cities to Birds

February 21, 2014

Cities across America provide critical stopover habitat for migrating birds in spring and fall, and year-round habitat for resident birds. The Service is working with a number of major metropolitan areas to enhance their benefit to birds and other wildlife. Find out if your city is one of them.

Learn More »»

Urban areas offer opportunities to engage youth in study of birds. Credit: Earth Conservation Corp.
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The downtown skyline serves as backdrop to Buffalo Bayou in Houston, site of one of eight newly established pilot urban wildlife refuge partnerships. Credit: Marc Reid / HoustonWilderness.org
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New Urban Partnerships Reach Out to Inner-city Audiences

February 21, 2014

America's National Wildlife Refuge System is a national treasure, but not every city is fortunate enough to have a refuge in its backyard. In order to include urban audiences as part of the conservation community, the Service is developing Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnerships in metropolitan areas where it does not have a physical refuge. Eight such partnerships recently announced aim to “meet people where they are” and explore different values and ways to connect with nature.

Learn More »»

The downtown skyline serves as backdrop to Buffalo Bayou in Houston, site of one of eight newly established pilot urban wildlife refuge partnerships. Credit: Marc Reid / HoustonWilderness.org
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The grand opening of the Desert Refuge visitor center will be celebrated February 22 with archery lessons, live reptiles, wildlife walks and a barbecue hosted by the Friends of Desert Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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Opening of Desert Refuge Visitors’ Center Attracts City Visitors from Las Vegas

February 21, 2014

Service Director Dan Ashe, Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Dina Titus today officially opened a new visitors’ center at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge just outside of Las Vegas, NV. The center will become a key wildlife education center for the city’s residents and visitors. The public is invited to a special Saturday grand opening event.

More Information » »»

Refuge Brochure (1.7 MB pdf) » »»

Grand Opening Flyer (800 KB pdf) » »»

Blog post from Service Director Dan Ashe » »»

The grand opening of the Desert Refuge visitor center will be celebrated February 22 with archery lessons, live reptiles, wildlife walks and a barbecue hosted by the Friends of Desert Refuge. Credit: USFWS
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Mule deer stand alert against the Denver skyline at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The Service has launched an initiative to bring more urban Americans into contact with nature. Credit: Mike Mauro
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Service Engages Urban Communities in Wildlife Conservation

February 21, 2014

If we are to succeed in conserving our treasures of biodiversity for future generations, we need to ensure that the rising number of Americans living in urban centers feel connected to and passionate about wildlife. To that end, the Service has begun an urban initiative that gives people in cities, big and small, opportunities to learn about and participate in wildlife conservation and recreation.

Learn More » »»

Mule deer stand alert against the Denver skyline at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. The Service has launched an initiative to bring more urban Americans into contact with nature. Credit: Mike Mauro
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Responders taking core samples of coal ash spill on Dan River. Credit: Steve Alexander / USFWS
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Service Response to Coal Ash Spill in North Carolina

February 20, 2014

On February 2, between 30,000 and 39,000 tons of coal ash and 27 million gallons of ash pond waste were released into the Dan River in North Carolina from a broken pipe at Duke Energy's disused Dan River Steam Station. Service biologists are on the ground determining the short- and long-term impacts of the spill on fish, mussels and other wildlife, including two endangered species. 

Learn More »»

Responders taking core samples of coal ash spill on Dan River. Credit: Steve Alexander / USFWS
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The Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in London will address the crisis facing African elephants and other animals caused by trafficking Credit: Gary M. Stolz / USFWS
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U.S. Officials Head to London for Trafficking Talks

February 12, 2014

The United States will be among the many nations represented when the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade convenes on February 13, 2014. Members of the U.S. delegation, which will communicate the President’s commitment to addressing wildlife trafficking, include Letty Belin, Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior. 

About the Conference »»

The Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade in London will address the crisis facing African elephants and other animals caused by trafficking Credit: Gary M. Stolz / USFWS
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Some of the ivory seized in late January. Though Togo has no elephant population, its ocean port in Lome has made it a prime transit country for ivory headed out of West Africa to Asia. Credit: ANCE-Togo
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Ivory Seizures in Togo Set Record for West Africa

February 11, 2014

Authorities in Togo arrested three men and seized two large elephant ivory shipments before they could be smuggled out of the country, setting and then breaking the record for such interceptions in West Africa within a six-day period. The 3.8 tons of ivory seized were headed for Vietnam. Last summer, a Service senior special agent spent three weeks working with the Togolese government to help build enforcement capacity there for addressing wildlife trafficking. 

Read about the 1st Seizure »»

Read about the 2nd Seizure »»

Some of the ivory seized in late January. Though Togo has no elephant population, its ocean port in Lome has made it a prime transit country for ivory headed out of West Africa to Asia. Credit: ANCE-Togo
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Elephant ivory seized at Entebbe airport, Uganda. Credit: © Operation Cobra II
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Operation Cobra II Nets Wildlife Traffickers in Africa and Asia

February 11, 2014

Law enforcement officers from 28 countries just announced completion of a ground-breaking, global operation to fight poaching and wildlife trafficking, code named "Operation Cobra II." The month-long operation resulted in more than 400 arrests of wildlife criminals and 350 major wildlife seizures across Africa and Asia, including seizure of over three metric tons of elephant ivory, 36 rhino horns and 1,000 skins of protected species. The Service, working through the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund and African Elephant Conservation Fund, was one of the principal supporters of Operation Cobra II.

News Release »»

Flickr »»

Elephant ivory seized at Entebbe airport, Uganda. Credit: © Operation Cobra II
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Rhinos and elephants are particularly at risk from wildlife trafficking. The National Strategy unveiled today by the White House offers a path forward to end the slaughter. Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa
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White House Unveils National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking

February 11, 2014

The United States today announced a National Strategy that will strengthen U.S. leadership on addressing the serious and urgent conservation and global security threat posed by the illegal trade in wildlife.

White House fact sheet »»

View the Strategy »»

Rhinos and elephants are particularly at risk from wildlife trafficking. The National Strategy unveiled today by the White House offers a path forward to end the slaughter. Credit: Yathin S Krishnappa
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The legal trade in ivory has been exploited by organized criminal cartels that are killing up to 35,000 elephants every year and trafficking their tusks. Credit: Michelle Gadd / USFWS

Service Initiates Commercial Ivory Ban to Protect Elephants, Rhinos from Wildlife Trafficking

February 11, 2014

Following the release today by the White House of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, the Service today announced plans to initiate a commercial ivory ban. Through a series of administrative actions, virtually all commercial trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn in the United States will be stopped. 

News Release »»

Learn More About the Ban »»

Learn More About the Wildlife Trafficking »»

Learn About the November 2013 U.S. Ivory Crush »»

The legal trade in ivory has been exploited by organized criminal cartels that are killing up to 35,000 elephants every year and trafficking their tusks. Credit: Michelle Gadd / USFWS

3-ton pile of illegal ivory prior to its destruction today by the French government in Paris, France. Credit: Arnaud Bouissou - MEDDE
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France Destroys 3 Tons of Illegal Ivory

February 7, 2014

The Service applauds France for destroying today 3-tons of illegal ivory seized by French customs and law enforcement officials between 1987 and 2007. France now joins the United States, Kenya, the Philippines, Gabon and the People's Republic of China in this public commitment to ending the illegal trade in ivory that is threatening to wipe out African elephant populations. Global momentum is building within the international community to fight global wildlife trafficking and save the world's most threatened species.

Director's Statement »»

Learn more about the U.S. #ivorycrush »»

3-ton pile of illegal ivory prior to its destruction today by the French government in Paris, France. Credit: Arnaud Bouissou - MEDDE
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Fin whale. Credit: Pete Duley, NEFSC/NOAA
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Interior Certifies that Iceland's Whaling Undermines Worldwide Efforts to Conserve Whale

February 6, 2014

The Department of the Interior has declared that Iceland's international trade in whale meat and products diminishes the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The official certification was made to President Obama under the Pelly Amendment to the Fisherman's Protective Act of 1967. The President will determine appropriate actions within 60 days following the certification.

News Release »»

Read the certification letter »»

Questions and Answers »»

Fin whale. Credit: Pete Duley, NEFSC/NOAA
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Federal Wildlife Officer, Kenneth McCain, with an osprey at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Larry Woodward / USFWS
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Leaders Honored for Conservation Work on National Wildlife Refuges

February 5, 2014

The National Wildlife Refuge Association recently announced its series of awards honoring individuals and groups for their dedication and devotion to wildlife conservation within the National Wildlife Refuge System. The awards recognize the strong leaders and employees, dedicated volunteers, and Refuge Friends organizations that help make the Refuge System one of the best wildlife conservation systems in the world.

Learn More »»

Federal Wildlife Officer, Kenneth McCain, with an osprey at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Larry Woodward / USFWS
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