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Service Receives Red Wolf Program Evaluation from WMI

Expects a decision regarding the future of the Program in early 2015

November 20, 2014

A bat with large ears resting on a rock

A red wolf. Photo: Becky Bartel, USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation of its Red Wolf Recovery Program’s non-essential, experimental population in five Eastern North Carolina counties.

Brief statements from Steve Williams, president of The Wildlife Management Institute; Leopoldo Miranda, assistant regional director for ecological services in the Service’s Southeast Region; and Gordon Myers, executive director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, are included below.

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Download our Questions and Answers (PDF)
Download Wildlife Management Institute's findings (PDF, 13.1 MB)
See all FWS documents referenced in the evaluation



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period On Proposal to List the Northern Long-eared Bat as Endangered

November 18, 2014

A bat with large ears resting on a rock

A northern long-eared bat with symptoms of white-nose syndrome. Photo: Steven Thomas, National Park Service.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comments will be accepted through Dec. 18, 2014.

The Service is reopening the comment period to alert the public to additional information provided by state conservation agencies within the range of the species. The Service will consider this information, and all information received previously, while determining whether the northern long-eared bat warrants listing under the Endangered Species Act. Reopening of the comment period will allow the public to provide comments on the proposed rule in light of that additional information. A final decision on the proposal is due on April 2, 2015.

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Whooping Cranes Arrive in Tennessee

2014 Cohort Arrived by Truck Today

November 14, 2014

A group of whooping cranes inside an enclosure

Whooping cranes in an enclosure. Photo: Operation Migration.

Seven young whooping cranes are making their way south in their first migration from Wisconsin, being led by costumed pilots in ultralight aircraft. But the weather isn’t cooperating, and after making only 52 miles in 34 days, the migration team decided to use ground transportation to move the cranes into Tennessee and more favorable migration conditions.

The seven young whooping cranes started their southward journey on October 10, 2014, from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, near Princeton, Wisconsin.

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Migratory Bird Conservation Commission Waterfowl, Approves $28 Million to Conserve Shorebirds and Other Species in 16 States

November 14, 2014

A blue-winged teal duck flies across a blurred green background

A blue-winged teal duck in flight. Photo: Tom Koerner, USFWS.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved $28 million in funding for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to purchase, lease, restore or otherwise conserve more than 128,000 acres of wetland habitats for ducks, bitterns, sandpipers and other birds in the United States.

In the Southeast, projects in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina received a combined total of $9,861,731 in federal funds and another $20,888,399 in matching funds from non-federal organizations and agencies. For a complete description of each project and its funding, please see

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Three Louisiana Residents Sentenced for Federal Lacey Act Violations

October 30, 2014

A white-tailed deer with large antlers in a fenced area

An imported white-tailed deer. Photo: William T. McKinley, Mississippi Department of Wildife, Fisheries and Parks

Gulfport, Miss. – Ronald W. Reine, 67, Brian R. Reine, 44, Bruce A. Swilley Jr., 27, and Omni Pinnacle, LLC, all of Slidell, Louisiana, were sentenced in federal court today on violations of the Lacey Act for importing white-tailed deer into Mississippi, announced U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis, Special Agent in Charge Luis Santiago of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Director of Investigations Robert T. Oliveri with the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Brian Reine, who previously pled guilty to the felony offense of importing white-tailed deer, was sentenced to nine months in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons and two years of supervised release. His father, Ronald Reine, who previously pled guilty to the misdemeanor offense of importing white-tailed deer, was sentenced to three years of probation, six months home confinement and a $10,000 fine. Bruce Swilley, who previously pled guilty to the misdemeanor offense of importing white-tailed deer, was sentenced to three years of probation, nine months home confinement and a $10,000 fine. Their closely held corporation, Omni Pinnacle, LLC, pled guilty to a felony and was sentenced to five years of probation.

All defendants were ordered to pay restitution to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks in the amount of $1.5 million. Each defendant forfeited all interest in the white-tailed deer, a truck and breeding facility.

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Owners Of Safari Company Indicted For Illegal Rhino Hunts

Out of Africa Charged with Wildlife Crimes, Fraud and Money Laundering

October 23, 2014

White Rhino

Photo: White rhino by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, on Flickr

The owners of Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris were charged with conspiracy to sell illegal rhinoceros hunts in South Africa in order to defraud American hunters, money laundering and secretly trafficking in rhino horns, announced Sam Hirsch Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division; George L. Beck, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama; and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The indictment was unsealed today in Montgomery, Alabama following the federal indictment.

The indictment charges Dawie Groenewald, 46, and his brother, Janneman Groenewald, 44, both South African nationals, and their company Valinor Trading CC (d/b/a Out of Africa Adventurous Safaris) with conspiracy, Lacey Act violations, mail fraud, money laundering and structuring bank deposits to avoid reporting requirements. The Lacey Act, the nation’s oldest criminal statute addressing illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking, makes it a crime to sell animal hunts conducted in violation of state, federal, tribal and foreign law.

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View our photos from the event on Flickr...



Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex to Hold Informational Meeting on November 10

October 23, 2014

Key Largo woodrat

Photo: Key Largo woodrat Credit: Clay DeGayner

The Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Complex will host a meeting on Monday, November 10, 2014, to provide information on efforts to conserve federally protected species through control of feral and free-roaming cats and to answer questions about the implementation of its Integrated Pest Management Plan as part of that recovery effort.

The informational meeting, which the public is invited to attend, is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park Visitor Center Auditorium located at 102601 Overseas Highway in Key Largo, Florida. The meeting will be informal with a presentation from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Complex Project Leader Nancy Finley and other representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be available after the presentation to answer questions.

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Louisiana's Red River Gets Big Boost

Land and Water Conservation Fund Enables Protection of Restored, Priority Forestland at Red River National Wildlife Refuge

October 22, 2014

Green and brown colored ducks on water

Green-winged teal ducks at Red River National Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Ronnie Maum, USFWS volunteer.

Natchitoches Parish, La. – Young cypress, oak and hickory trees will welcome tens of thousands of migrating waterfowl and song birds this fall as they rest at the Red River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) near Shreveport during their annual migration. Thanks to a multi-year partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and The Conservation Fund, these critical lands along Refuge’s Lower Cane River Unit have been protected and restored for the benefit of wildlife and nearby communities.

The recent transfer of 1,731 acres to USFWS caps a five-year effort to preserve nearly 4,500 acres at the Refuge.  Red River NWR was established in 2000 with the goal of restoring the bottomlands associated with the Red River Valley in Louisiana to native hardwood forests, in support of over 40 species of mammals, 200 species of neotropical birds and over 14 species of waterfowl.

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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 “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).

Read the full release...



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Last updated: November 24, 2014