Facebook icon Twitter icon Flicker icon You Tube icon

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 This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Scientific American Forum: Why Elephant Poachers Love the Federal Budget Sequester

African elephant . Credit: Gary M. Stoltz/USFWSDan Ashe was invited to write an essay on poaching and spending cuts.

Although foreign species may seem like other nations' problem, nothing could be further from the truth. The native species and ecosystems of our planet support billions of people and drive the world's economy. Everyone has a stake in sustaining these fragile ecosystems and species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) plays an essential role in combating global wildlife trafficking. Since the federal budget sequestration took effect in March, however, our ability to carry out this mission has been diminished, just as the situation for endangered species around the globe has become increasingly critica

Read the full essay

Fighting for Elephants

"The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?"  -- David Attenborough 

Today, we find ourselves amidst a sudden and vicious epidemic of wildlife slaughter and illegal trade.  We are receiving reports of a potentially catastrophic slaughter of forest elephants in the Central African Republic as that nation has spiraled into chaos.

Black market trade in ivory drives elephant poaching. Credit: Gary M. Stoltz/USFWS

First, we heard 30 elephants were killed. Then it was 40. Now it is more than 80, and the death toll will likely climb.  Definitive numbers are hard to come by, but it is clear that the world-renowned national park, Dzanga-Ndoki, and its large elephant population is now in harm’s way.