Black bear cub. Credit: Dick Thomas
"We turn to 'wild things' and 'wild places' for esthetic pleasure, spiritual
inspiration, and a way to connect with nature. Some of us find existential
meaning in the animals and plants that are the Nation's living legacy or
express our cultural heritage by using species to celebrate, pray, heal, or
- Office of Law Enforcement, Strategic Plan
Our Mission is to protect wildlife resources. Through the effective enforcement of Federal laws, we contribute to the Service's efforts to recover endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, safeguard fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
We focus on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources – illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental hazards. We investigate wildlife crimes; regulate wildlife trade; help Americans understand and comply with wildlife protection laws; and work in partnership with international, Federal, State, and Tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources.
This work includes:
- Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals.
- Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of U.S. species.
- Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding habitat for endangered species.
- Enforcing Federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with States to protect other game species and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities.
- Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade.
- Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species.
- Training other Federal, State, Tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers.
- Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes.
- Conducting outreach to industry, trade groups, and others to promote wildlife conservation and secure voluntary compliance with wildlife laws.
Office of Law Enforcement - Strategic Plan
Wildlife Inspector examines antler shipment. Credit: USFWS
Protect the nation's fish, wildlife and plants from unlawful exploitation and industrial hazards:
- Disrupt or dismantle criminal enterprises involved in illegal commercialization of wildlife.
- Apprehend individuals that violate wildlife laws.
- Reduce the impact of industrial hazards.
Prevent the unlawful import/export and interstate commerce of foreign fish, wildlife, and plants:
- Improve effectiveness in intercepting shipments containing illegal or injurious wildlife.
- Disrupt or dismantle international and domestic criminal enterprises.
- Apprehend individuals that violate wildlife trade laws.
Faciliate the expeditious movement of legal wildlife:
- Increase the efficiency of clearing wildlife imports/exports.
Create a strong management system and culture to improve program performance:
- Install a strategic planning and performance management system.
- Install a strategic human capital management system.
- Install IT systems to support achievement of business and operational results.
- Strengthen the professional integrity of the workforce.