Southwest Region
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Southwest Region Highlights

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Biologists give a Mexican wolf pup a health check during this year's cross-fostering efforts. Credit: USFWS.
Biologists give a Mexican wolf pup a health check during this year's cross-fostering efforts. Credit: USFWS.

Dozen Zoo-Born Mexican Wolf Pups Find New Homes in Wild After Successful Fostering Effort

June 2019
Twelve Mexican wolf pups are now being cared for and raised by surrogate wild wolf parents after successful efforts to introduce them into existing wolf litters in Arizona and New Mexico. The young wolves were placed in their foster dens by scientists from the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan group and Interagency Field Team. The cross-fostering is part of an effort to restore the rare gray wolf subspecies to its former range and increase genetic diversity in the wild population.

Read the news release.

 

 
 
Wildlife Selfies
 
Youth and Students
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
 
Southwest Region Weather Emergency
 
Spotlight
Black-capped Vireo Endangered No Longer
2018
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Collaboration and Partnership Help Protect a Texas Treasure for Future Generations
2018
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Enforcing Federal Wildlife Laws on the US-Mexico Border
2018
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A Delicate Dance
2018
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A "Field of Dreams" Moment: Endangered Razorback Sucker Munbers on the Upswing
2018
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Black-chinned hummingbird. Credit: USFWS.
Black-chinned hummingbird. Credit: USFWS.
Man from Cochiti Pueblo Sentenced to 37 Days in Prison for Violating Migratory Bird Treaty Act

ALBUQUERQUE – Wayne Martin, 47, of Cochiti Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 37 days in prison for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by shooting and killing at least two dozen protected birds and selling them to an undercover federal agent.

Martin previously pleaded guilty to this offense on January 5, 2017.  According to court documents, he admitted to killing robins, hummingbirds, hawks, and other species.  He then failed to appear in court for his original sentencing hearing and stayed away for 21 months before agents arrested him.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigated this case with assistance from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Peña prosecuted the case.

Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

 


Regional Director Amy Lueders presents Cynthia Dale and her team the Recovery Champion Award at the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society national conference.Credit: Vanessa Burge, USFWS.
Southwest Region Congratulates 2018 Recovery Champions

May 2019
Omar Bocanegra and Cynthia Dale and her team have been named the Southwest Region’s 2018 Recovery Champions. Omar is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Ecological Services Field Office in Arlington, Texas.  His efforts and leadership in recovering the endangered black-capped vireo led to the bird being delisted this past year.  Cynthia Dale is the Sensitive Species Coordinator with the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Arizona.  She and her team have worked tirelessly on Mexican gray wolf conservation and are a vital partner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in recovering the species.

Congratulations to Omar and to Cynthia and her team!
Learn more about Recovery Champions

 

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus Cylindraceus)...which is just one example of the species unlawfully collected.... are CITES II; however, the charges and sentencing stem from Smuggling and Lacey Act false labeling (no CITES/ESA charges). Credit: USFWS.
Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus Cylindraceus)...which is just one example of the species unlawfully collected.... are CITES II; however, the charges and sentencing stem from Smuggling and Lacey Act false labeling (no CITES/ESA charges). Credit: USFWS.

Meadview Man Sentenced to Prison for Drug Sales, Theft of Government Property, and International Smuggling of Federally- Protected Cacti

May 2019
William Starr Schwartz, 54, of Meadview, Ariz., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan to 24 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  Schwartz was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $22,655 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a charitable and nonprofit corporation established to further the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, plants, and other natural resources.  Schwartz had previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, theft of government property, smuggling cacti from the United States, and Lacey Act false labeling charges. 

Read the news release.

 

 

American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.
American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.

Conservation Partnerships Contribute to Proposed Downlisting of American Burying Beetle 
Endangered since 1989, North America’s largest carrion beetle appears to be staging a comeback  

May 1, 2019
The American burying beetle, one of nature’s most unique creatures, appears to be more plentiful, thanks in part to the efforts of a wide array of partners across its range. Following the beetle’s listing in 1989 as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and stakeholders implemented conservation and recovery efforts, and now the Service is proposing to downlist it from endangered to threatened.  

Along with the proposal to downlist the species from endangered to threatened, the Service is proposing a rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that would tailor ESA protections to only those the beetle needs for recovery.  

The Service is requesting comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the proposed downlisting and 4(d) rule. Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before July 2, 2019. 

Additional information on the proposed downlisting and 4(d) rule and Species Status Assessment is available at the Ecological Services Oklahoma site. https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/oklahoma/.

Read the news release.
Read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Read how the Cherokee Nation contributes to the American burying beetle.

 

 

Jaguar rests in a tree. Credit: Advocat, Creative Comms.
Jaguar rests in a tree. Credit: Advocat, Creative Comms.
Jaguar Recovery Plan Released

April 2019
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the completed Jaguar Recovery Plan.  The agency and its partners in the bi-national Jaguar Recovery Team can recover the jaguar, but it will take time, effort, and collaboration with partners across the species’ 19-country range. The Jaguar Recovery Plan sets goals for improving the species status across its range and provides a framework for achieving recovery. 

Here in the Southwest, male jaguars from a core breeding population in Mexico occasionally occupy mountain ranges along our southern border.  The Service has established strong working relationships with state and local partners, conservation groups, and the Mexican government to address primary factors contributing to the jaguars decline and its status as endangered.

Read the news release.
Learn more about the Jaguar.
Read the FAQs.
Read the Final Recovery Plan

 

Token trophies from the illegal helicopter hunt. Photo credit: USFWS.
Token trophies from the illegal helicopter hunt. Photo credit: USFWS.

Four Men Fined After Illegally Sport Hunting from Helicopter

April 2019
Four men have been sentenced after their involvement in illegal sport hunting from a helicopter in violation of the federal Airborne Hunting Act, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick. In September and October of 2018, Cody Morganthaler, 36, of Oklahoma, pleaded guilty along with Edelmiro Martinez, 33, Eduardo Lopez, 39, and Inocente Sanchez, 56, all of Laredo. Today, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced Morganthaler, Martinez, and Lopez to the maximum allowed fine of $5,000, all of whom must also serve one year of probation.

Read the entire news release.

 

A biologist wearing an aviator's jumpsuit and helmet carries a sedated Mexican wolf during the annual count. Credit: Mark Davis, USFWS.
A biologist wearing an aviator's jumpsuit and helmet carries a sedated Mexican wolf during the annual count. Credit: Mark Davis, USFWS.
2018 Mexican Wolf Count Cause for Optimism

April 2019
The recent Mexican wolf count indicates that the population of Mexican wolves has increased by 12 percent since last year, raising the total number of wolves in the wild to a minimum of 131 animals. That number is among the findings of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT), a task force comprising federal, state and international partners. Among the IFT’s findings: 131 wolves are nearly evenly distributed – 64 wolves in Arizona and 67 in New Mexico.

Read the 2018 Mexican wolf count news release.
Learn more about the Mexican wolf.

 

 

A Service special agent and an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation captain excavated five tiger carcasses that were illegally taken by the defendant. Credit: USFWS.
A Service special agent and an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation captain excavated five tiger carcasses that were illegally taken by the defendant. Credit: USFWS.

"Joe Exotic" Convicted for Murder-For-Hire Plot & 17 Wildlife Crime Violations

Apri 2019
A jury found Joseph Maldonado, aka “Joe Exotic,” guilty after only a few hours of deliberation. Included in his several crimes was hiring a person to kill a woman in Florida and shooting, killing, and burying five tigers.

Read the DOJ press release, “Joe Exotic” Convicted Of Muder-For-Hire and Violating Both The Lacey And Endangered Species Act.

 

 

 

Chihuahua scurfpea. Credit: © Phil Tonne, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico.
Chihuahua scurfpea. Credit: © Phil Tonne, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico.

Red-crowned parrot. Credit: © Julio Mulero, Flickr, Creative Commons.
Red-crowned parrot. Credit: © Julio Mulero, Flickr, Creative Commons.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines EndangeredSpecies Act Protection Not Warranted at this Time for the Red-crowned Parrot or the Chihuahua Scurfpea

April 2019
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the red-crowned parrot and the Chihuahua scurfpea do not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Today’s decision, known as a 12-month finding, follows an in-depth review under the ESA. After examining the best scientific and commercial information available, including recently completed species status assessments (SSA), the Service determined the red-crowned parrot and the Chihuahua scurfpea are not in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (threatened).

Read the bulletin on the red-crowned parrot.
Read additional information on the red-crowned parrot.

Read the bulletin on the Chihuahua scurfpea.
Read additional information on the Chihuahua scurfpea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.
American burying beetle. Credit: © Jay Pruett.
Service Proposes Amending Industry Conservation Plan for the American Burying Beetle

March 2019
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to extend the American Burying Beetle Industry Conservation Plan (ABB ICP) application by five years. Extending the ICP timeframe allows industry to minimize or avoid delays for projects and potential impacts to federally listed species. The Notice will publish in the Federal Register on Thursday, March 14, 2019, and public comments will be accepted until April 15, 2019.

Additional information is available on the Oklahoma Ecological website.
( https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/oklahoma/ABBICP.htm ).
Read the news release.

Read the FAQs
Read the Federal Register Notice

 


U.S. Fish adn Wildlife Offie of Law Enforcement Special Agent badge. Credit: USFWS.

Seven Charged for an International Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

March 2019
A federal grand jury returned a 38-count indictment against four American and three Filipino defendants for violating federal laws including the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. They are accused of creating counterfeit Native American jewelry in the Philippines, smuggling the pieces into the U.S., and fraudulently selling them to U.S. customers as authentic Native American made jewelry.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally recognized Tribes through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market. The USFWS OLE enforces the laws that regulate this trade.

Read the Department of Justice Press Release

 

 

 

 

Houston wildlife inspectors demonstrate carved and uncarved elephant tusks. Credit: USFWS.
Houston wildlife inspectors demonstrate carved and uncarved elephant tusks. Credit: USFWS.
Houston Wildlife Inspectors Host Live-stream Program

March 2019
During this Virtually Wild! Texas (VW!T) live-stream program, students in class and hospital room settings learned how US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife inspectors in Houston are able to identify the real from the fake and combat the trafficking of wildlife on a daily basis. Through virtual engagement, students also learned about this important career and what they can do to help stop wildlife trafficking. VW!T is a nature program hosted by the Houston Community Partnerships & Engagement, The Nature Conservancy in Texas and Region 4 Education Service Center.

Watch the video.

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

Search additional archived news releases for the Southwest Region

 

 
Last updated: June 18, 2019
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