Southwest Region
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Pronghorn stands in the prairie grasses. Credit: USFWS. Mexican wolf link Lesser prairie chicken link Monarch Butterflies link Pollinators link
Southwest Region Highlights   HotTopics
Whooping cranes. Credit: Klaus Nigge, USFWS.
Whooping cranes. Credit: Klaus Nigge, USFWS.
Winter Whooping Crane Population Stable, Expanding Range on Texas Coast

May 2020
AUSTWELL, Texas
 – Biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed analysis of aerial whooping crane surveys conducted last winter, finding Texas’ wintering population of one of the rarest birds in North America to have topped the 500 mark for the third year in a row. The survey also recorded dozens of the endangered birds outside of the primary survey area, indicating an expansion of their winter range on the Texas coast.

Read the news release.

 

 
 
Wildlife Selfies
 
Youth and Students
 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife News Publication
 
Southwest Region Weather Emergency
 
Spotlight
Apache Trout from Near Extinction to Eco Tourism
2019
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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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Artist Lindsay Carron uses ink and colored pencil to create renditions of Alaska.
Portraits of Alaska

Each year within Alaska’s 16 national wildlife refuges, the frigid temperatures, darkness and compounding snow of winter slowly give way to tundra bursting with berries in summer. A quick couple of months bring sunlit abundance in the form of millions of salmon and migratory birds, and thousands of migrating caribou. Countless living beings rely on this cycle before darkness returns.

As an artist in residence with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Los Angeles-based Lindsay Carron (left) travels into the heart of refuge lands and meets Alaska Native people who have called them home for thousands of years.

Read the entire article.

 

Canteen seized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agents. Credit: USFWS.
Canteen seized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agents. Credit: USFWS.
Two men, Two Businesses Plead Guilty to Selling Imported Native American-style Goods and Products

April 2020
Jawad Khalaf, 72, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Nashat Khalaf, 73, of Gallup, New Mexico, Sterling Islands, Inc., a wholesale jewelry business in Albuquerque, and Al-Zuni Global Jewelry, Inc., a wholesale jewelry business in Gallup, pleaded guilty in federal court in Albuquerque today to misrepresentation of Indian produced goods and services in an amount greater than $1000 as part of a scheme to import Native American-style jewelry from the Philippines and sell it to customers in the United States as authentic.

Read the news release.

 

Left photo: Narrow headed garter snake. Right photo: Northern mexican garter snake. Credit: Jeff Servoss, USFWS.
eft photo: Narrow headed garter snake. Right photo: Northern mexican garter snake. Credit: Jeff Servoss, USFWS.
Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Public Comment on Revised Proposed Critical Habitat for Two Southwestern Gartersnakes

April 2020
PHOENIX, AZ on 4/28/2020 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has published revised proposed critical habitat designations for two threatened species of gartersnake native to Arizona and New Mexico, and is seeking public comments. The Service is accepting public comments through June, 29, 2020.

Read the news release.

 

Monarch butterfly. Credit: Mike and Susan Kersey, USFWS.
Monarch butterfly. Credit: Mike and Susan Kersey, USFWS.
Historic agreement will conserve millions of acres for monarch butterflies and other pollinators across the United States

April 2020
Efforts to stem the decline of monarch butterflies took a giant leap forward today with the completion of a historic agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Illinois-Chicago. The agreement encourages transportation and energy partners to participate in monarch conservation by providing and maintaining habitat on potentially millions of acres of rights-of-way and associated lands.

Read the news release.
Read the FAQs.

 

Mexican wolf in the snow. Credit: USFWS.Mexican wolf in the snow. Credit: USFWS.
Service Seeks Input as it Prepares to Update the Mexican Wolf 2015 Revised Nonessential Experimental Population Designation

April 2020
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is soliciting input from the public as it begins preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement (sEIS) on its 2015 revision to the nonessential experimental population of Mexican wolf. The scoping process gives citizens an opportunity to provide input on the range of issues that will be addressed in the sEIS.

Read the news release.
Read the FAQ
Read the Federal Register notice.

 

Mexican gray wolf running. Credit: Jim Clark, FWS. 
Mexican gray wolf running. Credit: Jim Clark, FWS. 
Service Offers Large Monetary Reward for Information on Suspicious Deaths of 2 Mexican Gray Wolves near Pinetop, Arizona

April 2020
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are offering a combined reward of up to $37,000 for information leading to an arrest in connection with the suspicious deaths of two endangered Mexican gray wolves near Pinetop, Arizona.  

Wildlife managers recovered the bodies of the wolves off Porter Mountain Road in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest on March 22 and 23, 2020. If anyone saw a vehicle that was stopped or driving slowly off the Porter Mountain Road in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest or has any information that could be helpful in finding the person(s) responsible for the deaths of these wolves, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 1-800-352-0700, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-844-FWS-TIPS (397-8477). Persons reporting information may remain anonymous. 

Read the news release.

 

Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. Credit USFWS.
Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle. Credit USFWS.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins on the Texas Coast

April 2020
Sea turtle nesting season is about to start along the Texas coast. This includes the Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, which is the most critically endangered sea turtle in the world, as well as the threatened loggerhead and green sea turtles. We urge Texas Coastal visitors to do their part to help detect and protect threatened and endangered sea turtles on the beach. If you see a nesting sea turtle, the FWS advises that you quickly report the event by calling 1-866-TURTLE5 (1-866-887-8535). Additional information is available at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/TexasCoastal/.

Read the Bulletin.

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Solicits Public Input on Proposed Rule for Electric Bicycle Use on National Wildlife Refuges

April 2020
To increase recreational use on public lands for all Americans, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to adopt regulations on the use of electric bicycles (otherwise known as “e-bikes”) in units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

“The proposed e-bike rule will open new opportunities to the millions of Americans who visit national wildlife refuges each year,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “If approved, the rule will make it easier for visitors to explore these amazing places, with a bit of added assistance, if they need it.”

This proposed rule supports Secretary’s Order 3366 to increase recreational opportunities on public lands and Secretary’s Order 3376 directing Department of the Interior bureaus to obtain public input on e-bike use.

Read the news release.



Sandhill cranes fly over Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Temporarily Suspends Entrance Fees at National Wildlife Refuges

March 2020
After careful consideration, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to temporarily suspend the collection of all entrance fees at national wildlife refuges that charge a fee until further notice.

Refuge lands and outdoor spaces remain open to the public at most refuges where it is currently possible to adhere to public health guidance. In an effort to support social distancing, facilities such as visitor centers, however, will be closed. Please check your local refuge’s web page before you visit.

Read the news release.
Find a refuge near you.
Access additional regional emergency Coronavirus information.
Read the Service response to Coronavirus.

 

A sedated wolf is examined, given vaccines, measured, and fitted with a tracking collar before being released back into the wild during the annual count. Credit: Aislinn Maestas, USFWS.
Mexican Wolf Population Rises to at Least 163 Animals

March 2020
The wild population of Mexican wolves continues to grow at a healthy pace. The recent Mexican wolf count shows the population of Mexican wolves has increased by 24 percent since last year, raising the total number of wolves in the wild to a minimum of 163 animals.

That number is among the findings of the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT), a task force comprising federal, state, tribal and international partners. From November 2019 through January 2020, the team conducted ground counts in Arizona and New Mexico that concluded with aerial counts of Mexican wolves in January and February.

Read the news release.

 


Louisiana pinesnake. Credit: Mike Sealy, USFWS.
Service Finalizes 4(d) Rule to Aid Conservation of Louisiana Pinesnake and Support Landowner Efforts

February 2020
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized a special 4(d) rule for the Louisiana pinesnake, tailoring conservation protections for the snake while ensuring greater regulatory certainty for landowners. The Louisiana pinesnake was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2018 and landowners play a critical role in its conservation and recovery.

Read the news release.
Read the Q&As.

 

Yellow-billed cuckoo perched on a tree with food in it's beak. Credit: © Felix Uribe/Creative Commons. 
Yellow-billed cuckoo perched on a tree with food in it's beak. Credit: © Felix Uribe/Creative Commons
Revised Critical Habitat Proposed for Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

February 2020
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a revised version of the 2014 critical habitat proposal for the western distinct population segment (DPS) of yellow-billed cuckoo. The revised proposal would designate 493,665 acres of critical habitat across portions of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas and Utah, a reduction of 56,184 acres from the 2014 proposal. The changes are the result of revisions made to the species’ conservation strategy and improved identification of areas determined to be essential to the conservation of the species, which is currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Read the news release
Read the Q&As
Federal Register Reading Room

 


An ornate box turtle in the wild. A New Jersey man was found guilty of unlawfully collecting and selling two species of box turtle, including the ornate, or western, box turtle. Credit: USFWS. 

International Turtle Smuggling Operation Dismantled Thanks to Concerned Citizen, Partnerships 

February 2020
A New Jersey man was sentenced in federal court to conspiring with others to purchase, transport and sell more than 1,000 box turtles unlawfully collected in Oklahoma, U.S. Attorney Trent Shores said.  A Mannford, Oklahoma hotel housekeeper entered a room, after being told for a week not to clean it, and discovered the turtles. She tipped off local law enforcement, and this eventually led to successfully dismantling an international wildlife smuggling operation.  

Read the news release.

 

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” Sentenced to 22Years in Prison for Violating Wildlife Laws and Murder-For-Hire

January 2020
Examples of Joseph Allen Maldonado’s crimes include personally shooting and killing five tigers without a veterinarian present violating the Endangered Species Act,  falsifying records of wildlife transactions in interstate commerce violating the Lacey Act, and repeatedly seeking to have a woman in Florida murdered in exchange for money.

Read the news release.

 

These lion and tiger parts depict just a sampling of what was seized during the investigation. Credit: USFWS.
These lion and tiger parts depict just a sampling of what was seized during the investigation. Credit: USFWS.

As a Result of Operation Texas Pride, Another Wildlife Trafficker is Sentenced

January 2020
Robert Barkman admitted to selling and shipping a lion skull and leopard claws and receiving approximately $6,000 for these interstate sales.

 Read the DOJ’s press release.

 

 

Three Defendants Plead Guilty to Conspiring to Fraudulently Sell Imported Jewelry From the Philippines As Native American-Made

January 2020
Several defendants plead today in an International IACB investigation. Sentencing yet to come. Thank you all for the great work. Exceptional team work and assistance from our federal and state law enforcement partners.

Read the entire news release.

 

Southwest Region Archived News Releases

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Last updated: May 28, 2020
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