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Stories from the Home Page

Elephants are being decimated for their tusks. Credit: Michelle Gadd / USFWS
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END Wildlife Trafficking Act Signals U.S. Determination to End Poaching

October 13, 2016

Congress passed and the President has signed into law the Eliminate, Neutralize and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act. This new law shows the leadership role our nation has taken in the fight against poaching and wildlife trafficking here and abroad. Among the many provisions of the act, it gives Special Agents new tools to beat the sophisticated criminal organizations masterminding the current slaughter.

Director's Statement on Act »»

National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking »»

Elephants are being decimated for their tusks. Credit: Michelle Gadd / USFWS
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While white-tailed deer are common across much of eastern United States, the Columbian white-tailed deer is one of 16 unique subpopulations in the United States. Credit: Rick Cameron
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Adding to Growing List of ESA successes, Columbian White-Tailed Deer Downlisted to Threatened

October 13, 2016

Working with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, the states of Washington and Oregon, conservation groups and volunteers, today the Service and partners celebrated the downlisting of the Columbian white-tailed deer from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). As is common in ESA successes, national wildlife refuges played a key role in the improvement of the Columbian white-tailed deer. The Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer was established to protect and manage the deer.

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Pacific Region Blog »»

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While white-tailed deer are common across much of eastern United States, the Columbian white-tailed deer is one of 16 unique subpopulations in the United States. Credit: Rick Cameron
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Kids fishing at Masonville Cove. Credit: Courtesy of National Aquarium
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Connecting Baltimore Families to Parks, Green Spaces and Waterways

October 13, 2016

The Obama Administration, joined by officials from the Service and other partners, committed to improving local parks, green spaces, waterways and more in Baltimore, Maryland. Investing in green space has become a key strategy for revitalizing urban communities – improving residents' health, offering recreational opportunities for young people, fostering a sense of community and enticing businesses to build the area.

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Kids fishing at Masonville Cove. Credit: Courtesy of National Aquarium
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White-haired goldenrod in eastern Kentucky. Credit: John MacGregor / Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources
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Recovery and Removal from Endangered Species Act of Native Kentucky Plant a Victory for Conservation Partners

October 12, 2016

Working closely with the state of Kentucky and the U.S. Forest Service, the Service has successfully recovered the white-haired goldenrod, found only on a narrow stretch of public lands in eastern Kentucky. Today the plant was formally removed from the Endangered Species Act, adding to the growing list of plant and animal recovery successes.

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News Release »»

White-haired goldenrod in eastern Kentucky. Credit: John MacGregor / Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources
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Everyone can take steps to help monarchs and other pollinators. Credit: Brett Billings / USFWS
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McAllen Becomes Second Monarch Butterfly Champion City in Texas

October 12, 2016

McAllen, Texas, Mayor Jim Darling recognized the vital role Texas plays in saving the monarch butterfly and made McAllen the second Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the state, behind San Antonio. Monarchs and other pollinators are in steep decline, and the city of McAllen is stepping up to help these amazing creatures.

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Mayor’s Monarch Pledge »»

Save the Monarch »»

Everyone can take steps to help monarchs and other pollinators. Credit: Brett Billings / USFWS
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Alex Alegria and his parents celebrate his graduation from Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California in May 2016. Credit: Kim Forrest / USFWS
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Refuge Inspires Student to Work with Wildlife

October 11, 2016

Alex recently graduated with a degree in wildlife management from Humboldt State University, but before that worked at the refuge for two summers as a Youth Conservation Corps crew member and then two additional years as a part-time intern while attending junior college. He recalls how the refuge helped him see all the possibilities available for working in conservation: “I saw how the refuge was managed and experienced the ethics of the refuge: how we protect the place, how we are very conscientious about conserving the habitat, how we treat the animals. It inspired me to come back and maybe do habitat restoration and work with animals – it gave me direction.”

Read Alex’s Story »»

Alex Alegria and his parents celebrate his graduation from Humboldt State University, in Arcata, California in May 2016. Credit: Kim Forrest / USFWS
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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. 

News Release (Marine Species) »»

News Release (Reptiles) »»

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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.

2016 Events »»

Find a Refuge near you »»

News Release (en Español) »»

News Release »»

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.

News Release »»

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.

News Release »»

Learn More about Pangolins »»

Service’s CITES Blog »»

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.

News Release »»

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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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