What is our mission?

The Division of Management Authority (DMA) implements domestic laws and international treaties to promote long-term conservation of global fish and wildlife resources. In response to ever-increasing global pressures of wildlife trade and habitat loss on species worldwide, the office dedicates its efforts to conserving species at risk from trade and implementing policies that have a broad impact on conservation overall .

How are we organized?

DMA is one of three divisions within the International Affairs Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), which is an agency within the Department of the Interior.

What work do we do?

International cooperation is essential to safeguarding the survival of many wild animals and plants in trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for nations to work together to prevent further declines in wildlife populations. Most U.N. recognized nations are now party to CITES, the total number of signatories now stands at 180 countries. Each country has a Management Authority to oversee implementation of CITES. In the United States, this role is carried out by DMA.

Primary Functions

DMA's Branch of Permits and Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch work together to accomplish the following:

  • implement an international permit program
  • monitor trade
  • coordinate with inspection and enforcement officials
  • communicate on CITES issues with others
  • work with State and Federal agencies
  • provide technical assistance to other countries
  • represent the United States at CITES meetings

The Branch of Permits uses permits as a tool to help conserve wildlife for enjoyment and use by people, both today and in the future. Through the permitting process valuable data are gathered, shared, and used to monitor and manage trade of animals and plants. The branch processes permits under CITES, Lacey Act (injurious wildlife), Marine Mammal Protection Act, Wild Bird Conservation Act, and Endangered Species Act. In the face of increased workload and increased demand for permits, the branch continues to look for innovative ways to process permits, emphasizing outreach with stakeholders and uses of new technology.

The Wildlife Trade and Conservation Branch develops practical policies and regulations to implement CITES, interprets CITES resolutions and decisions, assists in monitoring of trade in CITES specimens, coordinates with other agencies on CITES activities and enforcement, serves as the primary public CITES contact, and provides delegation logistical and preparatory work for most CITES meetings. This branch also implements provisions of other U.S. wildlife trade laws such as the Wild Bird Conservation Act, the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act, and the Pelly Amendment of the Fisherman's Protective Act. These laws need continued public involvement to effectively protect the world's natural resources.

Conservation Partnerships


Scimitar-horned Oryx with calf
Credit: Smithsonian National Zoo

DMA also works cooperatively with others to promote conservation of animal and plant species in trade. Partnerships are essential to managing resources, especially as commercial use of wildlife challenges traditional approaches to wildlife conservation.

DMA collaborates with states and tribes to support their implementation of management programs for native species listed under CITES that are commercially traded in high numbers, including American ginseng, American alligator, bobcat, Canada lynx, and river otter. We oversee and monitor approved export programs for 45 states and 8 tribes. This results in expedited issuance of CITES permits for export of roots, furs, and skins of these species, supporting improved conservation efforts for species of international concern.

DMA also manages a registry of botanical gardens for the placement of CITES confiscated plants. These plant rescue centers pdf promote plant conservation by mitigating threats from international trade and educating the public about wild plant resources.

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