National Wildlife Refuge System

Honoring a Tradition of Protecting Wildlife

Refuge Manager William Radke and his science-based management team use trail cameras to document the passage of mountain lions and other mammals through the U.S.-Mexican corridor.
Credit: Larry Moats

On March 14, 1903, the efforts of citizen activists concerned about saving pelicans culminated in the establishment of the first national wildlife refuge on Pelican Island in Florida. For 110 years, the National Wildlife Refuge System has been charged with protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Here's just one example of a wildlife refuge working to protect America's natural resources during a challenging era.  In the face of changing climate and other landscape-scale stressors, that task is increasingly difficult. William Radke, manager of the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuges in the southwest borderlands, knows the future is now for threatened wildlife habitats.

The Refuge System now spans more than 150 million acres, with at least one wildlife refuge in every state and territory. Visit one -- or show your support by volunteering or becoming a Refuge Friend.

Click here for more Refuge System history.

Last updated: March 14, 2013