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Stories from the Home Page

Juvenile American eel. Credit: Credit: Greg Thompson / USFWS
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3 Plead Guilty in Crackdown on American Eel Trafficking

November 12, 2016

?Demonstrating, as Service Director Dan Ashe says, "the role U.S. citizens often play in wildlife trafficking," three more men have pleaded guilty in the illegal trade of American eels. Eels are highly valued in East Asia for human consumption. This has led to overfishing of Japanese and European eels. To protect the American eel, harvesting of juvenile American eels is prohibited in all but three states, and the Service is conducting an investigation to crack down on eel trafficking.

Juvenile American eel. Credit: Credit: Greg Thompson / USFWS
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USFWS oil and gas specialist inspects an oil production site at the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit: USFWS
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Service Finalizes Improvements to 50-Year-old Regulations Governing Oil and Gas Development on Refuge System Lands

November 10, 2016

As part of its ongoing commitment to preserving America’s rich wildlife legacy and the ability of all Americans to enjoy their unique and spectacular public lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finalizing a rule to govern the management of non-federal oil and gas development on lands of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The final revisions to the 50-year-old regulations allow for the continued responsible extraction of oil and gas, but require closer adherence to industry best management practices, and will prevent the potentially hazardous abandonment of infrastructure and on-refuge disposal of debris. 

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USFWS oil and gas specialist inspects an oil production site at the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Credit: USFWS
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Altamira orioles tend a characteristically long nest at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. Credit: Steve Sinclair
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Birding Means Business in South Texas

November 9, 2016

The southern tip of Texas is a birding paradise, attracting species like the green jay and the great kiskadee rarely seen elsewhere in the United States. Tourists the world over flock to three national wildlife refuges here: Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, and Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, generating millions of dollars in business. But some worry a development boom under way could put nature tourism at risk. 

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Altamira orioles tend a characteristically long nest at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. Credit: Steve Sinclair
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Megan Reed and Service Director Dan Ashe at CITES. Credit: USFWS
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Special Assistant Reflects Value Service Places on Next Generation

November 9, 2016

Megan Reed, a Special Assistant for the Service, exemplifies the best of our younger generation that the agency is seeking to develop as tomorrow's conservationists. Meagan presented a resolution on behalf of an international youth forum to representatives of 183 nations gathered at a global conservation conference in South Africa. It was adopted, and Reed says the support of Service leadership in bringing young people into conservation discussions “was more than I could ask for.” 

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Megan Reed and Service Director Dan Ashe at CITES. Credit: USFWS
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Diana Ogilvie served in the Navy from 1978 to 2008 as Command Master Chief of the United States Navy Band. Since 2009 she has been with FWS at Patuxent Research Refuge as a visitor services park ranger and volunteer coordinator. Credit: USFWS
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Fish and Wildlife Service Salutes Veterans

November 8, 2016

More than 1,300 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees are military veterans, many of whom continue to serve in Reserve and National Guard units across the country. These employees who once sacrificed for our country now use their skills for conservation. We thank each one of our veterans, and honor their service to our nation.

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Diana Ogilvie served in the Navy from 1978 to 2008 as Command Master Chief of the United States Navy Band. Since 2009 she has been with FWS at Patuxent Research Refuge as a visitor services park ranger and volunteer coordinator. Credit: USFWS
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Tri-colored bat with visible signs of WNS from Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. Credit: NPS
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New Fund Established to Defeat Devastating Bat Disease

November 7, 2016

Yesterday wrapped up Bat Week 2016, but now North American bats are getting some much needed help year round?. As announced at a Bat Week signature event at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, t?he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have created the Bats for the Future Fund, or BFF. BFF will raise public and private funds to defeat white-nose syndrome, which has killed more than 6 million bats since it was discovered nearly a decade ago. 

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Secretary Jewell's Bat Week proclamation »»

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Tri-colored bat with visible signs of WNS from Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. Credit: NPS
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USFWS staff and partners help build a living shoreline at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The project is supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery. Credit: Daniel White / The Nature Conservancy Credit: Daniel White / The Nature Conservancy
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Four Years Later, Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy

November 1, 2016

This week marks the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, an event that left a lasting impact on communities across the East Coast. There has been healing and recovery, but Sandy lives on – especially for the many people who are still rebuilding homes or recovering losses. In a blog published today in the Huffington Post, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe notes how Sandy serves as a reminder of the past and an opportunity to move forward "with new hopes and vision for the future."

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USFWS staff and partners help build a living shoreline at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The project is supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery. Credit: Daniel White / The Nature Conservancy Credit: Daniel White / The Nature Conservancy
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Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director of the Pollinator Partnership, awards Service Director Dan Ashe a Pollinator Advocate Award. Credit: Jamie Sherman / Pollinator Partnership
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Service Director Honored with Pollinator Award

November 1, 2016

The Service has led a concerted national effort to save monarch butterflies and other pollinators, knowing that the population declines are symptomatic of environmental problems that also pose risks to food production, the spectacular natural places that help define our national identity, and our own health. The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign recognized this recently, awarding Service Director Dan Ashe a Pollinator Advocate Award. 

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Laurie Davies Adams, Executive Director of the Pollinator Partnership, awards Service Director Dan Ashe a Pollinator Advocate Award. Credit: Jamie Sherman / Pollinator Partnership
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Touring the restoration work at Prime Hook. From left to right: Al Rizzo, USFWS project lead; Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell; Collin O'Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation; Senator Tom Carper-DE; Wendi Weber, USFWS Northeast regional director. Credit: Delaware State News / Marc Clery
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Interior Secretary Jewell Announces Completion of Marsh Restoration at Prime Hook in Delaware

November 1, 2016

October, 28, 2016 -- U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined U.S. Sen. Tom Carper and other federal, state and local officials to announce the completion of a $38 million marsh restoration project at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. The restoration effort, supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, will improve the resilience of refuge wetlands against future storms and sea-level rise, protecting nearby communities and providing valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

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Touring the restoration work at Prime Hook. From left to right: Al Rizzo, USFWS project lead; Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell; Collin O'Mara, president of the National Wildlife Federation; Senator Tom Carper-DE; Wendi Weber, USFWS Northeast regional director. Credit: Delaware State News / Marc Clery
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With Condor Country, “we are revolutionizing the way that people can connect to endangered species and to the people working to save them,” says Paul Souza, Regional Director of the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. Credit: Condor Country
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Condor Country Mobile Game Puts Endangered California Condor Recovery in Your Hands

October 28, 2016

Being a conservationist who works with the endangered California condor is not for the faint of heart. Find out why in the new mobile game Condor Country, the first mobile game to simulate what it takes to recover an endangered species based on real-life conservation practices used by the California Condor Recovery Program.

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Condor Country »»

With Condor Country, “we are revolutionizing the way that people can connect to endangered species and to the people working to save them,” says Paul Souza, Regional Director of the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. Credit: Condor Country
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The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides important breeding grounds for greater sandhill cranes and other birds. Credit: Roger Baker / USFWS
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Statement on the Jury Verdict in the Malheur Refuge Occupation Trial

October 26, 2016

While we are profoundly disappointed in the outcome of the trial, we are eager to move forward. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to the security, healing and comfort of our Malheur National Wildlife Refuge employees and the Harney County communities they serve, and to continue strengthening the collaborations and positive relationships cited throughout this trial.

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides important breeding grounds for greater sandhill cranes and other birds. Credit: Roger Baker / USFWS
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A Cooper's hawk at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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Pigeon Enthusiast Punished for Capturing, Killing Protected Hawks

October 24, 2016

A New York man has been sentenced to one year of probation, fined $5,500 and ordered to perform 90 hours of community service at a local animal shelter after he and another man admitted killing Red-tailed and Cooper’s hawks. These hawks are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The men, both of whom have pleaded guilty, kept a large number of racing pigeons and let them fly outside the coop for exercise. They viewed the hawks as a threat to their pigeons.

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A Cooper's hawk at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Tom Koerner / USFWS
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A look inside an old mine. Credit: Courtney Celley / USFWS
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Missouri Town Welcomes Endangered Indiana Bat

October 24, 2016

Last week, the Service and partners celebrated the recently completed Sodalis Nature Preserve in Hannibal, Missouri, which features recreational trails and hibernating habitat for an estimated 168,000 federally endangered Indiana bats—approximately one-third of all the Indiana bats in the world. Bats are pollinators and unparalleled at pest control, and this week has been designated National Bat Week.

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Sodalis Nature Preserve »»

National Bat Week Proclamation »»

A look inside an old mine. Credit: Courtney Celley / USFWS
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African giant pouched rat in training. Credit: APOPO's-HeroRATS
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Service Grants to Fund Trained Rats, Other Innovative Approaches to Protect Wildlife from Trafficking

October 21, 2016

Rats are smart with a keen sense of smell, and one species -- the African giant pouched rat -- is being tested to see if it can help detect illegal shipments of pangolins and hardwood timber in Tanzania. Such innovative approaches to halt wildlife poaching and trafficking are being rewarded to the tune of more than $1.2 million in Service grants for 12 projects in 11 countries.

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African giant pouched rat in training. Credit: APOPO's-HeroRATS
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American eel. Credit: Jim Hawkes/ NOAA
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7 Plead Guilty to American Eel Trafficking

October 13, 2016

With partners all along the Eastern Seaboard, the Service’s Operation Broken Glass has put a dent in the illegal trafficking of American eels. Seven people recently pleaded guilty to illegally harvesting and selling more than $1.9 million worth of juvenile American eels. Eels are highly valued in east Asia for human consumption. Historically, Japanese and European eels met this demand; however, overfishing has led harvesters to the American eel. Because of the threat of overfishing, eel harvesting is prohibited or heavily regulated in most of the United States.

News Release (DOJ) »»

American eel. Credit: Jim Hawkes/ NOAA
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