Latest News Archive

Eight Time NBA All Star Yao Ming Delivers Petition to the Chinese Government requesting a Complete Ban on Ivory Sales

With support from USFWS Wildlife Without Borders and in partnership with WildAid, Yao Ming delivered a petition to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) asking that China’s government ban the sale of ivory. Yao Ming has been an active leader and vocal critic against ivory sales in America and abroad. For more information on the petition click here.

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

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. Read the press release, visit our Wildlife Trafficking page, and check out our Q&As to learn more.

The Republic of Chad Crushes Stockpile of Seized Ivory

USFWS commends President Idriss Déby and the government of the Republic of Chad for destroying approximately one ton of confiscated ivory today as part of the 50 year anniversary celebration of Zakouma National Park. USFWS has been a proud supporter of conservation efforts in Zakouma National Park since 1999. We are encouraged by recent success in halting poaching in this important protected area, managed in partnership between African Parks and the government of Chad, which is considered one of the last strongholds for wildlife in Central Africa. Read the Director's Statement here.

Service Announces Next Meeting of Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking

Congratulations to Dr. Rosemarie Gnam, Chief of the Division of Scientific Authority, for receiving Honorable Mention for Science Leadership in the 2013 Fish & Wildlife Service's Science Awards. This prestigious honor is awarded to Service employees whose exemplary practice and support of scientific activities improve the Service’s knowledge and management of fish and wildlife resources. Dr. Gnam's work and leadership have been demonstrated both domestically and internationally in the protection of many species including sharks, red and pink corals, Bluefin tuna, paddlefish, tortoises and freshwater turtles, polar bears, and American ginseng. Learn more about Dr. Gnam's work.  FWS photo credit: Frank Kohn.

France Destroys 3 Tons of Illegal Ivory

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. Read the Director's Statement here.

Celebrating Shirley Temple Black's Work as a Conservationist

International Affairs is saddened to hear about the passing of Shirley Temple Black. Best known for her work as a child star in Hollywood during the 1930s, Temple later left show business and began a noted career in politics, diplomacy and conservation. She was a high-profile voice for conservation who helped create the framework for cooperation with Russia under which we still work today. In 1973 she was present at the signing of a foundational agreement between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. on environmental protection.  Read her words from this meeting where she spoke about the need for international cooperation in order to save the world’s endangered species. (Photo Credit: Walter Lang, 20th Century Fox)

Celebrate World Wetlands Day!

World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on February 2 to promote the global appreciation and protection of wetlands. It marks the anniversary of the 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran. The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2014 is Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners in Growth. There are 35 “Ramsar sites” in the United States.Click here to read more.

Saving the World's Most Endangered Lizards

Governments, academics, non-government organizations and private stakeholders are collaborating to help save the world's most endangered group of lizards--Caribbean island iguanas. This region-wide effort stemmed from a workshop held in Puerto Rico this past December which brought together 61 participants from 16 nations to identify the most critical issues facing these imperiled species.  Click here to learn more. 

Photo: Ricord's iguana, courtesy of Island Conservation. Caption: Through the Critically Endangered Animals Conservation fund, we're supporting a conservation project for the Ricord's iguana to remove three invasive species--feral cats, donkeys, and cattle-- a primary threat to iguanas.

USFWS Statement on the Dallas Safari Club auction

The Dallas Safari Club at their annual Convention being held from January 9-12 plans to auction a special hunting permit to take a black rhino . The hunting permit will be issued by the Government of the Republic of Namibia with all proceeds earmarked for rhino conservation in that country. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not received an application to allow for the importation of a black rhino trophy associated with the Dallas Safari Club auction. Click here for the full USFWS statement.  

USFWS Helps Train 200 Hundred Park Rangers in Mexico

USFWS Wildlife Without Borders - Western Hemisphere program has partnered with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, A.C. to develop a program for park rangers to gain training and expertise in critical protected area management issues. The Managing for Excellence signature initiative has trained an impressive 200 park rangers during its first year of activities while improving the management of 106 natural protected areas vital for the conservation of wildlife in Mexico. Click here to learn more about the Services' work in Mexico. Click here to view video testimonials in Spanish.

China Crushes Illegal Ivory

The Service commends the government of the People's Republic of China for destroying more than six tons of illegal elephant ivory in the city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. China today joins the United States, Kenya, Gabon and the Philippines, which have destroyed their illegal ivory, in this fight to save African elephants from poachers and the illegal ivory trade. France also plans to destroy its illegal elephant ivory this year. Click here for more information. Click here to read the Director's Statement.

Americans Play Key Role in Conservation of Elephants, Rhinos and Other Imperiled Species by Purchasing Save Vanishing Species Semipostal Stamps

The Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp continues to provide vital support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to fight global wildlife trafficking and poaching. Millions of Americans have purchased these stamps online and at their local post offices in the past two years, generating more than $2.5 million that has been used in Africa, Asia and Latin America to benefit elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and other rapidly declining wildlife species. Click here to read the press release. Click here to see the 2012-2013 stamp grants.

Service Partner Plays Important Role in Designation of Cotton-Top Tamarin Protected Area in Colombia

More than 1,000 acres of dry forests essential to the survival of the critically endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey (Saguinus oedipus) have been declared a protected area by the Regional Environmental Authority in Colombia (CARDIQUE).USFWS grantee Fundacion Proyecto Tití played a critical role in the designation of the Parque Natural Regional Bosque SecoEl Ceibal-Mono Tití . The grantee has worked to promote Cotton Top Tamarin conservation while increasing sustainable economic activities for rural communities and reducing dependence on income from the illegal pet trade. Learn more about the park in Spanish. Learn more about the Service's work in Latin America.

Iguanas: The World's Most Endangered Family of Lizards

Caribbean Iguana Conservation Workshop is being held from December 3-5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During this 3-day workshop, USFWS officials will meet with Caribbean government representatives, species experts, conservationists, and academics to explore a region-wide approach to iguana conservation. This workshop provides an opportunity to raise the profile of iguanas and expand the work of  the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CLCC), a partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in achieving a sustainable future for the Caribbean islands and their wildlife and ecosystems. To learn more about the CLCC, visit  Photo ©Glenn Gerber



Celebrating 40 Years of Polar Bear Conservation

Representatives of the polar bear range states – United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation – convened in Moscow on December 4 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Representatives responsible for polar bear policy, research, and management recognized the significant contributions over the past four decades to polar bear conservation throughout the species’ Arctic range. Click here to read the full article.

Save Vanishing Species Stamp "Tiger Stamp" Marks Its Second Anniversary

September 20th, 2013 marks the second anniversary of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp. In two years, over 23.4 million stamps have been sold raising $2,382,000 for the Service'sWildlife Without Borders’ international conservation funds. The funds raised are being used to help save tigers, elephants, rhinos, great apes, and marine turtles.  USFWS is teaming with the Detroit Tigers and ad agency BBDO to promote the Tiger Stamp and raise awareness of critical conservation efforts. Learn more about the projects supported by stamp funding:

WWB Mexico Story
Wildlife Without Borders-Mexico Supports Implementation of Law Enforcement Workshop

The city of Merida hosted the workshop “Building the Capacity of Natural Protected Areas Managers and Enforcement Officials to Protect Biodiversity in Yucatan Peninsula” (August 20th to 23rd), implemented by WWB-Mexico in partnership with the Environmental Law Institute. A total of 103 employees from the office of the General Attorney for Environmental Protection and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas attended the event. The workshop enhanced participants’ understanding of Mexico’s new legal and institutional framework and their effect on natural protected areas (NPAs) protection; the latest advances in environmental law interpretation and application nationally and internationally; the proper prosecution of environmental crimes in NPAs; importance of evidence collection; valuation of scientific evidence; and an analysis of the most emblematic cases of NPAs crimes. Click here to learn more about the Wildlife Without Borders-Mexico Program.

WWB Mexico Story
20th Anniversary of the National Ecological Merit Award by Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT)

On Wednesday, June 5th, as part of the Government of Mexico’s World Environment Day celebrations, USFWS - Wildlife Without Borders partner "Union de Sociedades Cooperativas de la Red de los Humedales de la Costa de Oaxaca" (Network of Coastal Wetlands of Oaxaca), was presented with the National Ecological Merit Award by Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). This year marks the 20th Anniversary of this prestigious Award, which recognizes outstanding efforts to advance conservation through research, social organization, and environmental education.

U.S. Submits 2011-2012 Biennial Report to the CITES Secretariat

The U.S. CITES Authorities have completed a report summarizing major U.S. legislative, administrative, and regulatory actions taken from 2011-2012 to implement and enforce the provisions of CITES.  The report features highlights from major law enforcement cases and criminal prosecutions, U.S. participation in working groups and CITES Committees, and other proactive measures taken to increase compliance and enforcement. Click here to read the full report.

Tiger Stamp
Save Vanishing Species Stamp "Tiger Stamp" Marks Its Second Anniversary

September 20th, 2013 marks the second anniversary of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp. In two years, over 23.4 million stamps have been sold raising $2,382,000 for the Service'sWildlife Without Borders’ international conservation funds. The funds raised are being used to help save tigers, elephants, rhinos, great apes, and marine turtles.  USFWS is teaming with the Detroit Tigers and ad agency BBDO to promote the Tiger Stamp and raise awareness of critical conservation efforts. The stamp is available at Learn more about the projects supported by stamp funding:

African Elephant Poaching Crisis
USFWS’ Wildlife Without Borders-Mexico Supports The Smart Schools Program in Baja California

In partnership with PROBEA, the USFWS is supporting a project to build the capacity of citizens in Mexico to conserve the region’s natural resources through education.  Currently, more than 11,000 students representing fourteen schools from all five municipalities in Baja California are committed to completing the program. Click here to learn more about the PROBEA project.

African Elephant Poaching Crisis
Poaching Crisis Prompts Immediate Protection of Southern White Rhino

September 10- The Service will take immediate action to protect the southern white rhinoceros under the Endangered Species Act in response to the poaching crisis decimating rhino populations worldwide. By extending ESA protection to the white rhino–the last remaining unprotected species of rhinoceros–the Service closes a loophole that has been exploited by poachers and traffickers seeking to cash in on global demand for rhino horn. Click here to learn more.

African Elephant Poaching Crisis
USFWS postpones ivory crush due to government shutdown

Plans to crush approximately six tons of elephant ivory seized over the years as a result of Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) criminal investigations and port inspections have been postponed due to the government shutdown. The ivory was scheduled to be destroyed on October 8 at OLE's National Wildlife Property Repository outside of Denver, Colorado. The USFWS intends to reschedule the event and will update this page when a date is selected. Click here to learn why the U.S. is taking this action.

Members Announced for Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking

September 9, 2013- Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has named members of a federal advisory council on wildlife trafficking during a White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. Jewell also announced Service plans to crush and destroy approximately six tons of elephant ivory seized by its special agents and wildlife inspectors for violations of U.S. wildlife laws. Click here to learn more about the Advisory Council and its members.


African Elephant Poaching Crisis
USFWS Discusses the Poaching Crisis in Africa on NPR

USFWS’ Richard Ruggiero recently appeared on NPR Baltimore’s Midday Show with Dan Rodricks to discuss the poaching crisis facing elephants in Africa. The broadcast explores the need for increased law enforcement efforts and demand reduction to address the issue. Listen to the entire broadcast at:

Detroit Tigers Support Conservation
Detroit Tigers Continue to Support Conservation

In a pre-game ceremony on August 27th , the Detroit Tigers presented a $10,000 check to the Service's Wildlife Without Borders program. The Tigers’ Pennies for Paws program has raised more than $53,000 for tiger conservation since 2008. The Tigers also support the Save Vanishing Species Stamp, a special first-class stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service, which has generated more than $2.3 million for conservation to date.

International Innovations in Diversity Award Competition
Service Receives 1st Place in International Innovations in Diversity Award Competition

The Service has received top honors in the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 10th Annual International Innovations in Diversity Awards competition for its innovative conservation work with communities in Africa and Latin America. The awards recognize organizations and institutions that develop  creative solutions in the area of workforce diversity and inclusion. The winning organizations are highlighted in the July/August 2013 issue of the Diversity Journal.




CITES CoP16 decisions effective June 12, 2013

CITES CoP16 had significant outcomes for the conservation of turtles, timber, marine species, elephants, rhinos, and a number of other animal and plant species. Changes in species listings and other results of this meeting will go into effect on June 12, 2013. If you are an importer/exporter of timber or reptiles, a musician traveling abroad with your musical instrument, or if you desire to be an informed consumer, please review our implementation page to ensure that you are complying with all CITES requirements.



FWS, Detroit Zoo, USPS, and Deroit Lions Management with collector's envelopes
USPS has created special collector's envelopes with the cancelled stamp - called cachets.

Representatives from the Detroit Zoological Society, U.S. Postal Service (USPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders (WWB) program, and the Detroit Tigers organization conducted a ceremony Friday at the Detroit Zoo to commemorate the release of the stamp and highlight the cachets available for collectors. Click here to read the full article.

Detroit Tigers Success Story
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Detroit Tigers Spotlight Success of "Save Vanishing Species" Semipostal Stamp

Representatives from the Detroit Tigers baseball club and BBDO joined U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Members of Congress and international conservation supporters today on Capitol Hill to celebrate the success of the “Save Vanishing Species” semipostal stamp. Sales of the stamp, which sells at a premium over first class stamps, have generated more than $2.1 million to support on-the-ground conservation of species like the wild tiger since the stamp went on sale in September, 2011. To date 33 conservation projects in 23 countries have been funded with $1.1 million of the stamp proceeds. Click here to read full article. You can also read the Detroit Tiger's press release here.

Call for Nominations for the Alexander F. Skutch Medal

Nominations are now open for the prestigious Alexander F. Skutch Medal for Excellence in Neotropical Ornithology. Please send an e-mail or letter to Herb Raffaele and address the candidate's contributions to Neotropical ornithology. Click on Englishpdf or Spanishpdf to learn more.


USFWS Statement on the Import of a Black Rhino Sport-Hunted Trophy

On March 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife issued a permit for the importation of a sport- hunted black rhinoceros trophy taken in Namibia in 2009. The Service granted this permit after an extensive review of Namibia’s black rhino conservation program, in recognition of the role that well-managed, limited sport hunting plays in contributing to the long-term survival and recovery of the black rhino in Namibia. Click here to learn more.


Child's Elephant Artwork
USFWS Receives Kids' Art Advocating for Elephant Conservation

Before3 CoP16 began, we heard from thousands of people across the country on our proposals, including kids! Our office received a wonderful collection of artwork from school children in Maryland passionate about elephant conservation. The collection featured poems, drawings and prints. Visit our Flickr page to view the pieces and see their important message for conservation.



CoP16 Logo, CITES
U.S. Press Releases on Progress Made at CITES CoP16

CoP16 is ending soon on March 14 and you can stay up to date on the progress made thus far. To read the Service's press release about increased protections for sharks and manta rays, click here. To read our press release on the many species of freshwater turtles now protected under CITES, click here. Unfortunately, the U.S. proposal to increase protections for polar bears was defeated, failing to receive a majority vote. You can read the Service's press release on the polar bear proposal here. And to stay up to date on the happenings of CoP16, be sure to visit our CoP16 page!


Chinese Rhino Horn Cup, Antiques Roadshow
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Spotlights Rhino Conservation with USFWS Director

Viewers who tuned in to ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, PBS’s highest-rated on-going series, on April 15 may have been surprised to see an interview with the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, to discuss the history of the rhino crisis and how it relates to the antiques trade. Check out the factsheet, "Can I Sell It? A Guide to Wildlife and Plant Protection Laws". You can also watch the episode or view the extended interview. (Photo: Chinese rhinoceros horn cup, Credit: Antiques Roadshow)


Rainforest- Credit Mauro Dibier, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License
Federal Register Notice Published Announcing U.S. Positions to CoP16

The Service published a Federal Register Notice today announcing the availability of tentative U.S. negotiating positions on species proposals, draft resolutions and decisions, and agenda items submitted by other countries and the CITES Secretariat for consideration at the Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP16) to CITES. Click here to read the notice. Also, be sure to visit International Affairs’ CoP16 website to learn more about U.S. proposals and check out the media page to stay up to date on the progress made at CoP16, beginning March 3rd.


Cao Vit Gibbon
Hope for the Cao Vit Gibbon

An October 2012 census shows that the population of Cao Vit gibbons has risen to 129 individuals from the 110 counted in 2007.  This survey was funded by a 2011 Wildlife Without Borders grant of  $53,404.00 to Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to conduct a trans boundary census and a review of the management plans to protect the radiant Cao Vit gibbon. Read article.



FWS and Deroit Lions Management with Check
Detroit Tigers and fans raise money for wild tiger conservation

The Detroit Tigers began their partnership last year with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program of the Division of International Conservation. The team presented a $25,000 check to Wildlife Without Borders last September at a ceremony at Comerica Park, which added to grants the organization received from people throughout the world. Click here to read the full article.

Rainforest- Credit Mauro Dibier, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License
Winter 2013 Issue of FWS News Features 40th Anniversary of CITES

 In celebration of the 40th Anniverary of CITES and the upcoming Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16), FWS News, the quarterly newsletter of the Service, has released a special section in their recent issue highlighting the importance of CITES and its rich history. To read the stories, visit our Articles page. Also be sure to visit our CoP16 page to learn about what the U.S. is doing in preparation for CoP16.


Take the Pledge
Battle for the Elephants

Battle for the Elephants,” a groundbreaking special by @NatGeo, explores the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory. The program airs Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.