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2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Student Art Competition Winners Chosen

April 9, 2015

A painting of a wood duck in water surrounded by ripples

“Wood Duck”, acrylic rendition by 13 year-old Amber Dong, was chosen as the Best of Show in the 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

Amber Dong, 13, of Johns Creek, Georgia, is the winner of the annual 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition held Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in Juliette, Georgia. Five judges unanimously selected her acrylic rendition of a Wood Duck out of 532 total entries as the Georgia Best of Show.

Dong will receive a $175 scholarship from Georgia Power, a long-time sponsor of the Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Program, as well as additional prizes. As Georgia’s Best of Show, her original artwork has been sent to compete in the national Junior Duck Stamp Competition being held Friday, April 17, 2015, at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“I chose the Wood Duck since it is so colorful and very pretty,” said Amber, a student at the First Fine Art & Design Academy in Johns Creek.

This year, 532 Junior Duck Stamp entries were submitted from 18 different public and private schools, home schools, art studios, and after-school programs statewide. Amber’s winning entry was submitted through Sheng Ji Qu, her Art Teacher at the First Fine Art & Design Academy. All 10 student entries submitted this year from this Academy received either First, Second, or Third place or an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Georgia Junior Duck Stamp Contest.

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See all of the 2015 winners of the GA Junior Duck Stamp Competition


Endangered Species Act Protections Proposed for Two Appalachian Crayfishes in Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia

April 6, 2015

A big sandy crayfish in an aquarium

Big sandy crayfish. Photo: Zachary Loughman, West Liberty University

Just as the central Appalachian landscape was beginning to undergo changes related to early 20th century mining, logging and population growth, researchers documented a number of crayfish species in the streams of this area known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Two of these crayfishes, the Big Sandy crayfish and the Guyandotte River crayfish, are now in danger of extinction.

Following a review of scientific and commercial information on the species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to list both as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Ongoing erosion and sedimentation have made many streams within their historical ranges unsuitable for the crayfishes. The Big Sandy crayfish is found in four isolated populations across the upper Big Sandy River watershed in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Guyandotte River crayfish survives at a single site in Wyoming County, West Virginia.

“The story of these declining crayfishes is emblematic of the conservation challenges and opportunities confronting one of our nation's most biologically diverse regions,” said Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber. “As we continue through the public process, we are committed to working collaboratively with agencies, industry, and conservation and recreation organizations to conserve these two native species.”

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Protects Northern Long-eared Bat as Threatened Under Endangered Species Act
Also Issues Interim Special Rule that Tailors Protections to Eliminate Unnecessary Restrictions and Provide Regulatory Flexibility for Landowners

April 1, 2015

A Northern long-eared bat in a gloved hand

Northern long-eared bat. Photo: Pete Pattavina, USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is protecting the northern long-eared bat as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), primarily due to the threat posed by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that has devastated many bat populations.

At the same time, the Service issued an interim special rule that eliminates unnecessary regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others in the range of the northern long-eared bat. The public is invited to comment on this interim rule as the Service considers whether modifications or exemptions for additional categories of activities should be included in a final 4(d) rule that will be finalized by the end of the calendar year. The Service is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until July 1, 2015 and may make revisions based on additional information it receives.

“Bats are a critical component of our nation’s ecology and economy, maintaining a fragile insect predator-prey balance; we lose them at our peril,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Without bats, insect populations can rise dramatically, with the potential for devastating losses for our crop farmers and foresters. The alternative to bats is greater pesticide use, which brings with it another set of ecological concerns.”

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Wildlife Commission Investigates Migratory Bird Treaty Act Violation posted on Facebook

April 1, 2015

Injured Bald eagle in a field cannot take flight after being shot

Great Horned Owl. Photo: Garry Tucker, USFWS

Stervenson Benjamin, 28, of West Palm Beach, Florida, has been charged with a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, for allegedly capturing, possessing, and transporting a great horned owl on March 16, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) jointly investigated the violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act after the suspects posted a video of themselves on Facebook holding an apparently stunned or injured Great Horned Owl while driving a car in West Palm Beach, Florida, at approximately 2:00 a.m. on or about March 16, 2015.

Federal Wildlife Officer William Calvert served the violation notice on March 29, 2015, to Stervenson Benjamin, who was driving the car. The case will be handled by U.S. Department of Justice Southern District of Florida and the first appearance court date will be set later.

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Northern Long Eared Bat Media Advisory

April 1, 2015

A close-up photo of a Northern long-eared bat with white nose syndrome

Northern long-eared bat. Photo: National Park Service

On April 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct a call with interested media to provide information on the final determination on our proposal to list the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act. The briefing will include a presentation about our decision and opportunities to ask questions of Service officials and species experts.

What: Information briefing on northern long-eared bat
When: April 1, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. CENTRAL TIME
How: Audio call
Phone Number: 800-619-7490
Passcode: 8752065


$7,500 Reward for Information on Bald Eagle Shooting

March 31, 2015

Injured Bald eagle in a field cannot take flight after being shot

Injured Bald eagle. Photo: Adam Caughern

SHREVEPORT, LA - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are seeking information on the shooting of a bald eagle that was found near Cavett River Road in Gilliam, Louisiana.

The Humane Society of the United States, The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are offering a reward of up to $7,500 for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for this unlawful act.

On March 22, 2015, an incapacitated, mature, American bald eagle was recovered in Caddo Parish near Cavett River Road. The bald eagle displayed wounds to its chest and left wing. The eagle was transported to the Louisiana State University Veterinary Hospital for treatment. X-rays confirmed that the injuries were due to gunshot. The eagle was euthanized as a result of the severity of its injuries.

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Last updated: April 9, 2015