Sri Lanka Becomes First South Asian Nation to Destroy Ivory Stockpile
January 29, 2016: Earlier this week, Sri Lanka crushed and burned 359 tusks, approximately 1.5 metric tons of ivory, in a public awareness event in Colombo. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service applauds this action, which demonstrates Sri Lanka’s strong stance against the illegal killing of elephants and adds their nation to a growing international movement to combat wildlife trafficking. Read more.
Federal Register Notice: Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Swaziland Elephants
January 21, 2016:The Service has published a Federal Register notice making available the final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for a permit application submitted by the Dallas Zoo to import up to 18 elephants from Swaziland to the United States. The Service has determined that the proposed import meets regulatory requirements under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service therefore has approved the permit request. Please refer to the Federal Register notice and the Q&A for more information.
U.S., China Share Best Practices for Wetlands Management
January 13, 2016: Because of China’s large population, it faces many challenges for managing its water resources to restore natural habitats and mitigate damages from floods and landslides. So last month, we hosted a group of Chinese wetlands officials touring protected areas in southern Florida. The goal for this trip was to learn about wetlands restoration, monitoring and management in the United States and provide new ideas for the Chinese on how to manage wetlands in their home country.
ESA Listing Protects Lions in Africa and India, Director’s Order Strengthens Wildlife Import Restrictions for Wildlife Law Violators
December 21, 2015: In response to the dramatic decline of lion populations in the wild, the Service today announced it will list two lion subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. Panthera leo leo, located in India and western and central Africa, will be listed as endangered, and Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened. Lion populations have declined by 43 percent due to habitat loss, loss of prey base, and retaliatory killing of lions by humans. Director Dan Ashe also issued a Director’s Order to ensure violators of wildlife laws are not subsequently granted permits for future wildlife-related activities, including the import of sport-hunted trophies. Learn more.
Costa Rica and U.S. Strengthen Conservation Partnership
December 15, 2015: On November 11, the governments of Costa Rica and the United States signed a new agreement to further collaborate on important conservation initiatives throughout Costa Rica. The new agreement will help both countries further pool resources to protect Costa Rican national parks, reserves and other protected areas, as well as work together to conduct research, share expertise, cultivate local stewardship and champions, and collaborate with indigenous and forest communities. There is also an emphasis on teaming up to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Read more.
Protecting Sea Turtles in Vietnam by Cultivating Local Stewards and Taking on Traffickers
December 4, 2015: In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature – Vietnam (IUCN-Vietnam), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through our Marine Turtle Conservation Fund, is cultivating community backing and supporting a volunteer program to monitor and protect nesting green turtles in Vietnam’s Con Dao National Park, home of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches remaining in the country. Read more.
CITES CoP17: Open Public Comment Period
December 4, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting information on resolutions, decisions and agenda items being considered for submission to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24 – October 5, 2016. The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. An extended version of this notice describes each recommended action, as well as those developed internally, and explains the rationale for United States' current thinking and tentative positions. The Service will review and consider all comments received on or before February 2, 2016 before making a final decision on any action. This notice also provides information on how non-governmental organizations based in the United States can attend CoP17 as observers. Please refer to the news release for more information.
Celebrating Manatee Awareness Month
November 24, 2015: Did you know that November is Manatee Awareness Month? These gentle, slow-moving marine mammals have endeared themselves to generations and long inspired tales of the sea. Early explorers of the ocean once mistook manatees for young women, fueling legends of mermaids. In several African countries, a manatee may be known as a “mamiwata” a name given to a spirit believed to be embodied by the manatee.
Through our International Affairs Africa Regional Program, we’re working to conserve African manatees, which inhabit 21 countries in Africa. Read more.
A Green Triangle of Hope in Fire-ravaged Indonesia
November 6, 2015: Fires are devastating Indonesia, threatening gibbons, orangutans, elephants and other wildlife, as well as people. The Global Fire Emissions Database reports that satellites have detected more than 117,000 active fires in 2015 through October 28. However, within the borders of Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park (WKNP), a small green triangle marks an area where successful fire prevention efforts have cleared smoke, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the devastation. Since 2008, we, through the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, have supported forest patrols and other work in WKNP. Fire prevention efforts are among the many responsibilities of these patrol teams, and over the last several weeks, they have been on the front lines fighting fires. Read more.
Open Public Comment Period: Draft Environmental Assessment for Swaziland Elephants
October 22, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on a draft Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regarding a permit application from the Dallas Zoo (Dallas, TX), which requests authorization under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to import 18 live wild-captured elephants from Swaziland. The notice will be open for public comment until November 23, 2015. Please refer to the Federal Register for additional information and instructions on how to submit comments. A permit for the import of live elephants from Swaziland has not been issued.
Service Protects Two Rare Macaw Species
October 1, 2015: The Service today announced it is listing the military and great green macaws as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Both bird species are endemic to Central and South America. The agency found that both species are in decline, primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, small population size, and poaching. Please refer to the news release and the Q&A for more information.
Celebrating the One-year Anniversary of the MESOAMERICA 2020 Partnership
September 21, 2015: Mesoamerica, which ranges from central Mexico down to the Panama Canal, contains less than one percent of the world's land surface, but is home to seven percent of our global biodiversity. Unfortunately, many of the species and ecosystems of Mesoamerica are under severe threat. In 2014, the Service together with the Organization of American States launched MESOAMERICA 2020 to partner with governments, non-governmental organizations and local communities in the region. Read about challenges and opportunities ahead in Director Dan Ashe's blog as the partnership celebrates its one-year anniversary.
Service Extends Period of Nominations for Members of Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking
September 10, 2015: In a Federal Register notice published today, the Service extended the nomination period for members of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking until September 25, 2015. The Council advises and makes recommendations on issues related to combating wildlife trafficking, including improving anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts and reducing demand for illegal wildlife products in the U.S. For more information about the Advisory Council and the nominations process, click here.
CITES CoP17: Open Public Comment Period
August 26, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on certain species proposals under consideration for submission to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24 – October 5, 2016. The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. An extended version of this notice describes each recommended action, as well as those developed internally, and explains the rationale for United States' current thinking about submission of species proposals for CoP17. The Service will review and consider all comments received by October 26, 2015 before publishing a final rule. Please refer to the news release and Q&A for more information.
Service Director Lauds United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
August 03, 2015: Service Director Dan Ashe recently commended the United Nations General Assembly for adopting an important resolution on illegal wildlife trafficking. The resolution underscores the global commitment to the fight against the growing illegal wildlife trade and those who threaten the future of many of our planet’s species. Read the Director's Statement and the UN Resolution.
President Obama Announces Proposal to Tighten Controls on Domestic Ivory Trade
July 25, 2015: In response to a growing poaching crisis that is rapidly pushing populations of African elephants, rhinos and other species to the brink of extinction, President Obama today announced that the Service is proposing new regulations that will result in a near total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory. The proposed revisions to the African elephant rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would prohibit most interstate commerce (sales across state lines) in African elephant ivory and would further restrict commercial exports. The proposed rule includes limited exceptions for antiques, as defined under the ESA, and certain pre-existing manufactured items such as musical instruments that contain less than 200 grams of ivory. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, July 29 and will be open for public comment for 60 days. The Service will review and consider all comments received by September 28, 2015 before publishing a final rule. Please refer to the news release and Q&A for more information.
Service to Continue to Deny Access to Imported Elephant Trophies from Tanzania
July 10, 2015: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will continue to deny import of African elephant sport-hunted trophies taken from Tanzania into the United States in 2015. The Service’s decision is based on the current situation on the ground in Tanzania, including questionable management practices, a lack of effective law enforcement, and weak governance, which have resulted in uncontrolled poaching and catastrophic population declines of African elephants.Please refer to the news bulletin and Q&A for additional information.
First Pangolin Range States Meeting Co-hosted by Vietnam and the United States
June 24-26, 2015: Delegates from African and Asian pangolin range countries joined together for the first time to develop a unified conservation action plan to protect pangolins at the First Pangolin Range States Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam. The governments of Vietnam and the United States co-hosted the meeting, which was organized and facilitated by Humane Society International. Learn more at the Humane Society International press release and the USFWS pangolin webpage.
U.S. to Destroy More than One Ton of Confiscated Ivory
June 18, 2015: On Friday, the Service, with wildlife and conservation partners, will publicly crush more than one ton of confiscated ivory in Times Square in downtown New York City. As with the first Ivory Crush in 2013, the event sends the message that the United States will not tolerate this illegal trade. The Crush will also educate people about the harm buying ivory can do and how they can help in the fight to save the elephants. Learn more.