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Stories from the Home Page

A monarch near Death Valley, California. Credit: USFWS
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Western Monarchs Need Our Help

February 5, 2018

February 5 is Western Monarch Day, a day to celebrate the lesser-known branch of the famed butterfly family. Western monarchs migrate, just not in the droves their eastern cousins do. Some overwinter on the Pacific Coast, and during the spring and summer the butterflies can be found throughout California and in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, the western monarch does share something in common with its eastern counterpart: declining population numbers. A new study tallied fewer than 200,000 monarchs, the lowest number since 2012.

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A monarch near Death Valley, California. Credit: USFWS
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Left to right, Barbara “Barb” Langley, Heather Williams, Joy Robinson and Crystal Williams work on a basket made from longleaf pine needles. Credit: Coushatta Tribe
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Woven from the Land

February 1, 2018

The Service works with countless partners to restore longleaf pine forests in the Southeast. The motivation for many of these conservationists is to help the many at-risk wildlife that thrive in these forests from the red-cockaded woodpecker to the gopher tortoise. The Sovereign Nation of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana has an additional motive: Elders weave beautiful, intricate baskets from longleaf pine needles.

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Left to right, Barbara “Barb” Langley, Heather Williams, Joy Robinson and Crystal Williams work on a basket made from longleaf pine needles. Credit: Coushatta Tribe
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Colorful monarch butterfly bicycles and pollinator helmets were used for photos and rides on the lake. Credit: Melissa A. Clark / USFWS
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As Big Game Comes to Minnesota, Go Monarchs!

January 28, 2018

Through February 11 (taking place during Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis), the Service's Urban Wildlife Conservation Program is teaming with local artists and the Minneapolis Public Schools to present the Monarch Butterfly Migration Shanty and Art Shanty Village, an interactive art exhibit on the frozen Lake Harriet with more than 20 structures and interactive exhibits representing more than 100 artists. The goal is to raise awareness of monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

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Colorful monarch butterfly bicycles and pollinator helmets were used for photos and rides on the lake. Credit: Melissa A. Clark / USFWS
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Danielle Tentschert, of Ocean Connectors, speaks to a group of students from National City, California. Credit: Anna Mar/Ocean Connectors
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Inspired to Change the World

January 24, 2018

A partnership in Southern California focuses on case studies of well-known marine species to educate, inspire and connect youth in Pacific coastal communities of the U.S. and Mexico.

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Danielle Tentschert, of Ocean Connectors, speaks to a group of students from National City, California. Credit: Anna Mar/Ocean Connectors
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Wilderness Fellow Alicia Thomas installs a swim-in trap to capture ducks for banding at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Credit: Traver Detras
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‘I want to do this forever’

January 24, 2018

Student internships and volunteer stints for young people on national wildlife refuges can change lives. Check out some of the many opportunities available.

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Wilderness Fellow Alicia Thomas installs a swim-in trap to capture ducks for banding at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. Credit: Traver Detras
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Nicole Strawderman watches the Eagle Creek Fire. Credit: Jared Strawderman
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Expecting First Child, Refuge Caretakers Face Raging Wildfire

January 17, 2018

Nine months pregnant, Nicole Strawderman watched from her home as the Eagle Creek Fire in Columbia Gorge engulfed tree after tree, acre after acre. Nicole and husband Jared, volunteer caretakers and full-time residents of Pierce National Wildlife Refuge in Washington, tracked the blaze anxiously in early September as it burned across the Columbia River. High winds were fueling the blaze and sending red-hot embers floating through the sky.

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Nicole Strawderman watches the Eagle Creek Fire. Credit: Jared Strawderman
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Maine has the lower 48's largest lynx population. Credit: USFWS
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The Comeback Cat

January 16, 2018

Thanks, in big part to private landowners, the population of Canada lynx in Maine has soared. Research shows that the species is well on its way to becoming America’s latest conservation success, with the Service reaching a scientific conclusion last week that lynx in the lower 48 are adequately protected and may no longer meet the federal “threatened” status.

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Maine has the lower 48's largest lynx population. Credit: USFWS
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A bull moose crosses a side channel of the Green River at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS
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Here’s Why All Rivers Matter

January 10, 2018

Rivers sustain us in vital ways – worth noting on the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, which protects more than 12,000 miles of our nation’s rivers. Some of these rivers are on national wildlife refuges. Take a look at why rivers — all rivers — matter.

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A bull moose crosses a side channel of the Green River at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge in Wyoming. Credit: Tom Koerner/USFWS
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The annual Christmas tree drop at Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans. Credit: USFWS
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Recycling Christmas Trees for Wildlife

January 3, 2018

Are you taking down the tree you carefully decorated for the holidays? Don't just trash them! With a little care, these trees can often benefit your local wildlife, the soil in your yard or even nearby restoration projects.

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The annual Christmas tree drop at Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in New Orleans. Credit: USFWS
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Nick Messersmith and son Raylan paddle along. Credit: Photo courtesy David Stevens
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Generations Continuing Traditions on National Wildlife Refuges

January 3, 2018

As a Check-station Operator at Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Dayton, Texas, Bonnie Campisi meets plenty of hunters and revels in their love of the outdoors and commitment to public lands.

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Nick Messersmith and son Raylan paddle along. Credit: Photo courtesy David Stevens
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Yangtze sturgeon. Credit: Courtesy of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
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Service Proposes Protection for Yangtze Sturgeon Under the ESA

December 27, 2017

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to list the Yangtze sturgeon as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. As a result of dam construction and bycatch on the Yangtze River, this freshwater fish species has experienced a significant decline. In addition, the species has been affected by industrial pollution, riverbed modification and hybridization with non-native sturgeon species. Efforts undertaken by local and national authorities, such as fishing bans and restocking, have not been successful in conserving the species.

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Yangtze sturgeon. Credit: Courtesy of the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences
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The outstretched wing of a Northern saw-whet owl, as seen under blacklight. Info courtesy of the Ned Smith Center. Credit: Photo courtesy of SeabrookeLeckie/Creative Commons
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You Would Even Say It Glows

December 22, 2017

If you’re mesmerized by the holiday lights and displays, you may also enjoy these glowing gifts that nature provides throughout the year.

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The outstretched wing of a Northern saw-whet owl, as seen under blacklight. Info courtesy of the Ned Smith Center. Credit: Photo courtesy of SeabrookeLeckie/Creative Commons
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Federal Wildlife Officers Shane Kempf (far right) and Greg Burgess (center), from Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California, shopped with two brothers from schools in Yuba City. Each student received a $100 gift card to shop. Credit: USFWS
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Refuge Wildlife Officers Help Make Holidays Merrier for Youth

December 22, 2017

The “Shop With a Cop” program has grown across the nation as a way of improving relations between police officers and young people. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Federal Wildlife Officers in several regions grabbed the chance to help brighten the holiday season for families.

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Federal Wildlife Officers Shane Kempf (far right) and Greg Burgess (center), from Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California, shopped with two brothers from schools in Yuba City. Each student received a $100 gift card to shop. Credit: USFWS
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Wisdom with her egg last year. Credit: Kristina McOmber/Kupu Conservation Leadership Program & USFWS
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Wisdom, the Oldest Known Albatross, Lays Another Egg at Midway

December 21, 2017

Wisdom, the oldest known Laysan albatross, has returned to Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial. That's remarkable enough considering her senior status – approximately 67 years old. But now she and her mate are incubating another egg. 

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Wisdom Photo/Video Album »»

Wisdom with her egg last year. Credit: Kristina McOmber/Kupu Conservation Leadership Program & USFWS
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Alligator snapping turtles and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Credit: Gary Tucker/USFWS
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Jaws of Justice Snap Shut on Alligator Snapping Turtle Traffickers

December 19, 2017

Two men will serve more than a year in prison each for trafficking in alligator snapping turtles. The turtles can live more than 100 years, but they are imperiled in areas such as Texas, which prohibits capturing, transporting or selling the turtles. Louisiana also prohibits their sale. The men admitted capturing turtles in Texas to sell in Louisiana.

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Alligator snapping turtles and can weigh more than 200 pounds. Credit: Gary Tucker/USFWS
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