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Federal Agencies Offer Vision to Ensure Future Generations Can Enjoy Wilderness


October 20, 2014

A red wolf in the woods

Sunrise over Chase Prairie at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, which features wilderness areas. Photo: Blaine Eckberg, USFWS.

Washington, D.C. – The federal land management agencies that make up the National Wilderness Preservation System recently signed an agreement that will guide interagency collaboration and vision to ensure the continued preservation of nearly 110 million acres of the most primitive of public lands.

The 2020 Vision: Interagency stewardship priorities for America’s National Wilderness Preservation System will guide the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Geological Survey, all under the U.S. Department of Interior; and the U.S. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Federal and State Officials Request Assistance in Investigation of Gunshot Red Wolf


October 17, 2014

A red wolf in the woods

A red wolf at the Virginia Living Museum. Photo: USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are requesting assistance with an investigation involving the suspected illegal take of a radio-collared red wolf that was recently found dead.  The federally protected red wolf was found with an apparent gunshot wound on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, east of Columbia, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Based on body condition and field sign, the actual date of death is estimated to be Sept. 26, 2014.

This is the third red wolf death of 2014 resulting from a suspected gunshot.  The previous two suspected gunshot deaths occurred in January and March.  A total of 10 wild red wolves were known to have died in 2014, including two struck and killed by vehicles, one died incidental to otherwise legal activities, one due to health reasons, three were confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths, and the causes of three incidents are currently unknown.  Two of these cases are currently pending necropsies. The remaining wolf death for 2014 is undetermined.

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New Video Provides Amazing First Look Inside Endangered Bat’s Only Documented Natural Roost


October 15, 2014

Florida bonneted bat in hand

A Florida bonneted bat. Photo: Gary Morse, FWC.

VERO BEACH, Fla. – The discovery of a rare Florida bonneted bat roost in a tree cavity at Avon Park Air Force Range (APAFR) in central Florida has yielded what is believed to be the first-ever video of the endangered bats inside a natural roost.

The video lasts about 85 seconds and can be seen at http://bit.ly/1rvgTMV. “This is a remarkable and significant find. It’s the first active natural roost that we’ve confirmed. The discovery was made possible through great collaboration and partnerships. The fantastic video makes the find even more exciting,” said Larry Williams, Florida State Supervisor of Ecological Services for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List Florida Bristle Fern


October 8, 2014

Florida Bristle fern

Florida Bristle fern photo Credit: Keith Bradley

VERO BEACH, Fla. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the Florida bristle fern as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The public is invited to comment on this proposal for the next 60 days through December 8, 2014.

Only found in Miami-Dade and Sumter Counties, the Florida bristle fern is a small, mat-forming fern with bristle-like outgrowths at its tips. The fern doesn’t have roots, and it superficially resembles mosses and liverworts. Currently, there are only two known groupings of populations of this plant. In Miami-Dade County, the fern is found in limestone solution holes on the Miami Rock Ridge. In Sumter County, the fern lives on limestone boulders under thick forest cover in moderately moist hammocks. Only 12 subpopulations of the fern are known to remain –10 in Miami-Dade County and two in Sumter County.

The Florida bristle fern has been a candidate for federal listing as endangered since November 2009. An endangered plant is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A rule proposing a critical habitat designation is pending.

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Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Date to Complete Red Wolf Evaluation to November 14


October 7, 2014

Red Wolf

Red Wolf photo Credit: Seth Bynum

The deadline to complete a peer-reviewed evaluation of the Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program and its non-essential, experimental population of red wolves in Eastern North Carolina has been extended to November 14.

To take into account more than 47,600 comments the Service received from interested citizens and organizations over nearly a month along with the feedback from two public focus group sessions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided an additional month to the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) to complete its evaluation.

“The Service greatly appreciates the effort of so many citizens and organizations who took the time share comments and provide feedback to us related to the Red Wolf Recovery Program and its work in Eastern North Carolina,” said Leopoldo Miranda, Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services in the Service’s Southeast Region.

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to List the Black Pinesnake as Threatened


October 6, 2014

Black Pinesnake

Black pinesnake photo Jim Lee: The Nature Conservancy.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the black pinesnake as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) with a proposed section 4(d) rule. If finalized, this 4(d) rule would exempt certain activities from the take prohibitions of the ESA that would positively affect black pinesnake populations and provide an overall conservation benefit to the snake. These activities include herbicide treatments, prescribed burning, restoration along river banks and stream buffers, and some intermediate timber treatments. 

This harmless snake is only found in the longleaf pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama. Longleaf pine habitat once covered roughly 90 million acres across much of the Southeastern United States and over several decades shrunk to around three million acres in the 1990s. A large partnership of conservation agencies, non-profits, and businesses are taking steps to reverse that decline.

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Last updated: October 21, 2014