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Bison gather at the river at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Nebraska. Credit: Phyllis Cooper / USFWS
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114 Years Young: Refuge System Celebrates Birthday

March 22, 2017

Since its establishment 114 years ago, the National Wildlife Refuge System has protected and restored a world of wildlife, and has offered an unparalleled system of public lands that provides access to the great outdoors to all citizens. President Teddy Roosevelt created the first national wildlife refuge on March 14, 1903, at Pelican Island, Florida. Today, the Refuge System is the world's largest network of conservation lands and waters, managing more than 850 million acres, with at least one national wildlife refuge in every state and U.S. territory. 

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Bison gather at the river at Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Nebraska. Credit: Phyllis Cooper / USFWS
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Service Wildlife Inspectors, both two- and four-legged, participate in Operation Thunderbird. Credit: USFWS
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Service, Partner Nations to Wildlife Traffickers: There's Nowhere to Hide

March 9, 2017

Operation Thunderbird, a global anti-wildlife trafficking initiative, recently turned a bright spotlight on the alarming depth and breadth of the planet's wildlife poaching problem. Many seizures of illicit wildlife products were made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers, demonstrating the significant role our nation plays in the problem of wildlife trafficking. 

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Service Wildlife Inspectors, both two- and four-legged, participate in Operation Thunderbird. Credit: USFWS
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Seaborne plastic debris litters a beach on Laysan Island in Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument in the Pacific. Credit: Susan White / USFWS
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Oceans of Trash

March 1, 2017

Marine debris is a global problem that threatens wildlife – and people, too. It's estimated that 8 million tons of debris enter the ocean each year, outpacing efforts to remove it. Making a real dent in the problem will require action by all of us.

Photo Essay »»

Seaborne plastic debris litters a beach on Laysan Island in Papah?naumoku?kea Marine National Monument in the Pacific. Credit: Susan White / USFWS
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Secretary Ryan Zinke. Credit: Photo courtesy Scott Wilson
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Ryan Zinke Sworn In as 52nd Secretary of the Interior

March 1, 2017

Today, Ryan Zinke was confirmed and sworn in as the 52nd Secretary of the Interior. He was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence at a ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Zinke is the first Montanan to serve as a cabinet secretary and also the first U.S. Navy SEAL in the cabinet. As Secretary of the Interior, Zinke leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees who serve as steward for 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, monuments and wildlife refuges, as well as other public lands.

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Secretary Ryan Zinke. Credit: Photo courtesy Scott Wilson
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Monarch butterflies overwintering near Santa Barbara, Calif. Credit: Lisa Hupp / USFWS
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Monarchs Still Need Your Help

February 24, 2017

Conservation efforts count now more than ever for monarch butterflies. The eastern population of monarchs overwintering in Mexico continues to decline due to severe storms and habitat loss. Numbers also were down at historically large sites for populations of western monarchs. From entire nations to individuals, everyone can play a role in helping reverse these declines. 

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Monarch butterflies overwintering near Santa Barbara, Calif. Credit: Lisa Hupp / USFWS
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Girl Scouts gather before helping plant 80 native plants to aid the monarch butterfly at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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Connecting Our Constituencies

February 24, 2017

To remain relevant in a changing world, the Service is reaching out to audiences who, in the past, have been ignored or forgotten by the Service. At the same time, we remain committed to our traditional audiences. Our latest digital magazine has several features about how we are reaching new stakeholders and connecting our constituencies. 

From the Directorate: Connecting Our Constituencies »»

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Girl Scouts gather before helping plant 80 native plants to aid the monarch butterfly at San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Kayt Jonsson / USFWS
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A green jay at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit: Mike Carlo / USFWS
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Wildlife Refuges: Where the Birds Are

February 22, 2017

Some people gladly awaken at 4 a.m. and drive hours to glimpse a rare Kirtland's warbler. Other people barely know a robin from a bald eagle, but they love to walk outdoors. For both types – experienced birders and newbies alike – national wildlife refuges are wonderful places to see birds in natural habitat.

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A green jay at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit: Mike Carlo / USFWS
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Wisdom checks in with her newest chick. Credit: Naomi Blinick / USFWS Volunteer
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Wisdom, the World’s Oldest Known Wild Bird, Has a New Chick

February 14, 2017

On a remote atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Laysan albatross Wisdom just became a mother again. Last December, volunteers and staff at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Memorial documented that Wisdom, at least 66, had returned to the atoll and was incubating an egg with her mate. About two months later, word came from Midway, Wisdom had hatched another chick!

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Wisdom checks in with her newest chick. Credit: Naomi Blinick / USFWS Volunteer
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National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Credit: Lisa Hupp / USFWS
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Wildlife Extravaganzas at Wildlife Refuges

February 10, 2017

Every day – somewhere in the United States – people gasp OMG as they see wildlife spectacles on national wildlife refuges. The National Wildlife Refuge System manages more than 850 million acres, including five marine national monuments, 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts.

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National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Credit: Lisa Hupp / USFWS
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016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun. Credit: Courtesy of the Endangered Species Coalition.
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Kids! Get in Touch with Nature Through the Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

February 2, 2017

Protecting nature is critical to keeping our planet thriving for future generations. What better way to do that than by engaging school children, in grades K through 12, to put their imaginative skills to work for wildlife in the 2017 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. It is organized by the Service, Endangered Species Coalition, Association of Zoos and Aquariums and International Child Art Foundation. The deadline is March 1, 

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016 Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest Grand Prize Winner by Miles Yun. Credit: Courtesy of the Endangered Species Coalition.
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Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a tricolored heron executes what looks like an advanced yoga move while shaking off sea water. See tricolored herons at Florida’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and many other coastal refuges. Credit: Copyright Mia McPherson
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Wildlife Chucklers

February 2, 2017

It’s hard not to laugh at some photos of wildlife taken on or near national wildlife refuges. See if you agree.

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Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a tricolored heron executes what looks like an advanced yoga move while shaking off sea water. See tricolored herons at Florida’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and many other coastal refuges. Credit: Copyright Mia McPherson
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Why did a large-winged bird leave such a deep impression in the snow at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota? Credit: Lee Kensinger / USFWS
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Who Goes There?

February 1, 2017

Even if an animal stays out of sight, you can often find clear signs of its presence by its tracks and imprints in snow. These prints may reveal clues to an animal’s size, diet, gait and habits. Some tracks and prints tell stories of struggle and survival.

Snow Tracks Photo Essay »»

Why did a large-winged bird leave such a deep impression in the snow at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota? Credit: Lee Kensinger / USFWS
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Sea turtles are killed for their eggs, shells, skin and meat. Credit: NOAA
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Travel Industry Joins Service and Partners to Fight Wildlife Trafficking

January 18, 2017

The travel and tourism industry is working with the Service and other partners to fight wildlife trafficking. The effort, which includes the Adventure Travel Trade Association, American Society for Travel Agents and Cruise Lines International Association, will help travelers recognize and avoid purchasing illegal wildlife products.

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Be Informed. Buy Informed. A Guide for Travelers »»

Wallet-size Guide for Travelers »»

Sea turtles are killed for their eggs, shells, skin and meat. Credit: NOAA
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Regional Director Tom Melius with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, former Congressman John Dingell Jr. and Refuge Manager John Hartig. Credit: Melissa Clark / USFWS
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Refuge Visitor Center to Honor Conservation Giant – former Congressman John Dingell

January 17, 2017

An under-construction visitor center at Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge will be named after former Congressman John D. Dingell Jr. “Congressman Dingell made huge advances for conservation on a continental scale. I’m honored to dedicate this building as the John D. Dingell Jr. Visitor Center,” said Regional Director Tom Melius. 

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Regional Director Tom Melius with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, former Congressman John Dingell Jr. and Refuge Manager John Hartig. Credit: Melissa Clark / USFWS
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A bald eagle at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge along the California-Oregon border. Credit: George Gentry / USFWS
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Eagles Across America

January 17, 2017

Half a century ago, the bald eagle was in danger of extinction. Habitat loss, illegal shooting and the pesticide DDT had decimated populations in the lower 48. But conservation actions under the Endangered Species Act, the end of DDT use, and actions taken by the public have helped lead a remarkable recovery.

Photo Essay on the Grand Bird » »»

A bald eagle at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge along the California-Oregon border. Credit: George Gentry / USFWS
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