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Stories from the Home Page

Rhampholeon viridis. Credit: Christopher V. Anderson / Brown University
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Greater Protections Received for Reptilian and Marine Species at CITES CoP17

October 7, 2016

Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Johannesburg, South Africa, today agreed to greater protections for a number of reptilian and marine species. These include softshell turtles, African pygmy chameleons, chambered nautiluses, devil rays and sharks. The parties hold a decision-making session to finalize recommendations later this week. 

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Rhampholeon viridis. Credit: Christopher V. Anderson / Brown University
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An elk at the National Bison Range in Montana. Credit: David Fitzpatrick / USFWS
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Discover the World’s Largest Conservation System: Visit a National Wildlife Refuge During Refuge Week, October 9-15!

October 7, 2016

National Wildlife Refuge Week is a celebration of the benefits brought to people around the globe by the world’s largest network of public lands and waters dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation. Refuges offer world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation to photography and environmental education. Every state and U.S. territory has at least one refuge, and there is one within an hour’s drive of most major cities.

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An elk at the National Bison Range in Montana. Credit: David Fitzpatrick / USFWS
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Young angler at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
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Service Announces 2016 Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges

October 4, 2016

Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the agency will expand fishing and hunting opportunities on 13 refuges throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. The final rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations on more than 70 other refuges and wetland management districts. This includes sport fishing and migratory bird, upland game and big-game hunting. The Service manages hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, as well as providing wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, such as wildlife watching and photography.

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Young angler at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS
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Eurasian minnow. Credit: Karelj via Wikimedia Commons
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Service Acts to Prevent 11 Nonnative Species from Harming Native Wildlife

October 3, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken action to help ensure that 11 potentially invasive species do not damage native wildlife and habitats by becoming established in the United States. 10 nonnative freshwater fish species and one nonnative freshwater crayfish species will be designated as injurious under the Lacey Act. The final rule will protect native wildlife and associated habitats, prohibit the import of live specimens for each species without a permit, and avert potential economic strains.

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Eurasian minnow. Credit: Karelj via Wikimedia Commons
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Forest fragmentation requires African grey parrots to travel longer distances to feed. Credit: Andrew Bernard
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Strongest Trade Protections Signal Hopeful Future for African Grey Parrots

October 3, 2016

African grey parrots are being loved to death -- overharvest for the pet trade is devastating populations in the wild. Fortunately, nations gathered at the world's largest and most important wildlife trade conference recently handed these birds a lifeline by granting them increased protections under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations voted to increase protections for grey parrots in a proposal co-sponsored by the United States.

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Forest fragmentation requires African grey parrots to travel longer distances to feed. Credit: Andrew Bernard
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Congratulations Operation Crash Team! Credit: USFWS
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American Public Picks Service's Ed Grace and Operation Crash Team for Prestigious Honor

September 28, 2016

Ed Grace, Deputy Chief of the Service's Office of Law Enforcement, and his Operation Crash team have won the People's Choice award of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. Operation Crash, an ongoing nationwide criminal investigation led by the Service's Office of Law Enforcement, was created to catch, and send to prosecution, wildlife traffickers who were dealing in illegal rhino horn and elephant ivory products. Thanks to the operation, the Service has made 42 arrests, 30 convictions, and 27 wildlife traffickers have been sentenced in federal court.

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Congratulations Operation Crash Team! Credit: USFWS
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Both Asian and African pangolin species are threatened by international trafficking, primarily for use of their scales for traditional Asian medicine and as a luxury food in East Asia. Credit: Ajit K. Huilgol
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Nations Unite to Improve the Fate of Pangolins

September 28, 2016

Pangolins received increased protections today under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations voted to increase protections for all eight species of pangolins by voting in favor of proposals to transfer pangolins from Appendix II to Appendix I of the treaty. Appendix I of CITES includes species threatened with extinction and provides the greatest level of protection, including restrictions on commercial trade.

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Both Asian and African pangolin species are threatened by international trafficking, primarily for use of their scales for traditional Asian medicine and as a luxury food in East Asia. Credit: Ajit K. Huilgol
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Rachel Carson on Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. Credit: Shirley A. Briggs
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Rachel Carson's Groundbreaking 'Silent Spring' Turns 54

September 27, 2016

In 1962 on this date, Rachel Carson, a onetime writer-biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, published Silent Spring, which awakened society to the dangers of indiscriminate use of the pesticide DDT. In the end, the federal government banned DDT, and wildlife such as the bald eagle soar the skies in increasing numbers, recovered from the effects of the pesticide.

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Rachel Carson on Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. Credit: Shirley A. Briggs
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The U.S. is co-sponsoring four proposals to increase CITES protections for pangolins. Credit: Maria Diekmann/Rare and Endangered Species Trust
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U.S to Support Greater Protections for a Variety of Species at International Wildlife Trade Forum

September 21, 2016

Some of the planet's most imperiled animals take center stage in South Africa Sept. 24-Oct. 5, when nations around the globe convene for the world's most important meeting on wildlife trade. The United States will support increased protections for pangolins, African grey parrots and chambered nautilus, among other species at the 17th CITES Conference of Parties. The U.S. Delegation, led by FWS Director Dan Ashe, will also call for the closure of domestic ivory markets and advocate against the legalization of rhino horn trade that threatens these magnificent creatures.

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The U.S. is co-sponsoring four proposals to increase CITES protections for pangolins. Credit: Maria Diekmann/Rare and Endangered Species Trust
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Laura Bush and others get ready to make milkweed seed balls to disperse to create new habitat for monarchs. Credit: Grant Miller
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Former First Lady Laura Bush Creates a Buzz for Monarchs

September 16, 2016

The Service was proud to join with former First Lady Laura Bush, founder of Texan by Nature, and other conservation partners this week in Austin, Texas to celebrate the fall the migration of monarch butterflies and to announce new collaborations in the state’s efforts to conserve pollinators and their habitats in Texas.

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Laura Bush and others get ready to make milkweed seed balls to disperse to create new habitat for monarchs. Credit: Grant Miller
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Rhino horn destroyed at the Sept. 8 San Diego Zoo event. Credit: San Diego Zoo
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Service and Partners Urge Public to #stopwildlifetrafficking At Back-to-Back Events

September 15, 2016

The Service and its partners put wildlife trafficking in the public eye this week at high visibility events designed to garner national and international attention. On Sept. 7, conservation nonprofit WildAid and the Service launched a public awareness campaign at two major U.S. airports, while today, the Service partnered with San Diego Zoo Global and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to stage the nation's first rhino horn destruction. Both events signal to the world that the United States is committed to end the scourge of wildlife trafficking. 

Wild Aid Partnership News Release »»

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Rhino Horn Burn News Release »»

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Rhino Horn Burn What People Are Saying »»

Rhino horn destroyed at the Sept. 8 San Diego Zoo event. Credit: San Diego Zoo
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Canada geese by Minnesota artist James Hautman. Credit: USFWS
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Minnesota Artist James Hautman Wins 2016 Duck Stamp Art Contest

September 15, 2016

With his acrylic painting of Canada geese, Minnesota artist James Hautman won the 2016 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. The painting will be made into the 2017-2018 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp,” which will go on sale in late June 2017. The win is his fifth, tying him with his brother Joseph, whose art appears on the 2016-2017 Federal Duck Stamp. Brother Robert placed third. The Federal Duck Stamp is the nation’s oldest and most successful waterfowl/bird conservation effort. Rebekah Knight of Missouri, who previously won the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, placed second. 

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Canada geese by Minnesota artist James Hautman. Credit: USFWS
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A FY 2016 grant to the State of Hawaii will help permanently protect 969 acres to support the recovery of numerous endangered Hawaiian birds, as well as minimize sedimentation of the near shore ecosystem and the Nation's largest fringing coral reef. Credit: USFWS
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Some of America’s Rarest Species Receive Further Protection with Critical $44.8 Million Investment

September 15, 2016

Threatened and endangered species in 20 states will benefit from $44.8 million in grants from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF). CESCF is authorized under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act and enables states to work with private landowners, conservation groups and other government agencies to protect federally-listed species and their habitats. 

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A FY 2016 grant to the State of Hawaii will help permanently protect 969 acres to support the recovery of numerous endangered Hawaiian birds, as well as minimize sedimentation of the near shore ecosystem and the Nation's largest fringing coral reef. Credit: USFWS
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The designation will help humpback whales and many other species. Credit: NOAA
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Service to Co-manage First Marine Monument in the Atlantic Ocean

September 15, 2016

On the heels of creating the world's largest protected area in the Pacific Ocean, President Obama today reaffirmed his commitment to marine conservation and protection by designating the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean. Permanently protecting these resources and reducing other threats to these ecosystems will provide a refuge for at-risk species such as deep sea corals, endangered whales and sea turtles and other species; improve ocean resilience in the face of climate change; and help sustain the ocean ecosystems and fishing economies for the long run.

News Release (DOI) »»

White House Fact Sheet »»

The designation will help humpback whales and many other species. Credit: NOAA
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From left to right, photo credits in parentheses: Karner blue butterfly (Joel Trick/USFWS), African elephant (Michelle Gadd/USFWS), Hawaiian monk seal at Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: James Watt
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Partnering with Google Cultural Institute Brings Endangered Species to Life

September 13, 2016

The Service presents more than 90 striking images and fascinating wildlife stories and facts on imperiled plant and animal species as part of the Google Cultural Institute’s Natural History Collection. The Service's contribution paints a picture of the threats facing plants and animals around the world while also highlighting the inspiring conservation work that is helping some of them recover.

Open Spaces Blog »»

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From left to right, photo credits in parentheses: Karner blue butterfly (Joel Trick/USFWS), African elephant (Michelle Gadd/USFWS), Hawaiian monk seal at Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: James Watt
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