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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).

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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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Last updated: October 24, 2014