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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Ted Turner: A Friend of Endangered Species and a Valuable Partner

Lily Tomlin once said: “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”

Thankfully, Ted Turner has always realized that he is somebody, and long ago decided he wanted to do something to help conserve endangered species. And then he got to work, making a real difference in the lives of the black-footed ferret, the red-cockaded woodpecker, wolves and many other species.

While at Ladder Ranch, I joined Dr. Benjamin Tuggle (second from left) and Service staff in some work with wolves. Credit: USFWS

That’s why, this week, I traveled to the Ladder Ranch, in New Mexico, to present Ted Turner and the Turner Endangered Species Fund with our Endangered Species Recovery Champion award.

Recovery Champions are helping to prevent extinctions by conserving habitats, restoring species to the wild, conducting scientific research, or promoting public awareness.  Ted Turner and TESF are doing all of those things.

TESF has been key in the incredibly successful reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, a species thought extinct twice before.

I was lucky enough to help reintroduce a few of these remarkable critters one chilly November night on the South Dakota plains.

TESF ferret sites, which include secure prairie dog habitat, represent some of the most stable recovery areas among the sites established since 1991.

In the Southeast, TESF is working tirelessly to preserve the red-cockaded woodpecker, one of only two woodpecker species protected by the Endangered Species Act. 

The innovation, success and hard work of Ted Turner and the Turner Endangered Species Fund are just staggering and serve as the example for other conservation organizations to strive to meet.

I'm honored to present Ted Turner a Recovery Champion award. Credit: USFWS

While not all of us -- OK, none of us -- have the resources of Ted Turner, we all share a common trait with him. We are somebody who can do something important for species conservation.  Let's follow his lead and make it a passionate and lifetime pursuit.

Thanks Ted!

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