Latest News Archive
|March 17, 2017
Amazing Green Animal Photos (Link)
|March 3, 2017
Stunning Photos from Around the World in Honor of World Wildlife Day (Link)
|February 22, 2017
A Caribbean-Led Effort to Stop Wildlife Smuggling Takes Flight (Link)
|February 17, 2017
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Statement
on Cameroon's Destruction of Confiscated Pangolin Scales (Link)
|February 8, 2017
The Night Lives of Forest Elephants (Link)
|February 6, 2017:
How Solving a "Cattle Conundrum" Would Help Protect Wildlife in Honduras (Link)
|January 27, 2017:
Statement on Tragic News from Chinko National Park in Central African Republic (Link)
New Rosewood Regulations to Take Effect in January
Effective January 2, 2017: The entire genus Dalbergia spp. (except for Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra), which is listed in Appendix I), the three bubinga species of Guibourtia demeusei, Guibourtia pellegriniana, and Guibourtia tessmannii, and kosso (also called African rosewood) (Pterocarpus erinaceus) have been listed in CITES Appendix II and CITES documention may be required for import and re-export of these species and items made from them. For additional information on this listing, please read this letter to U.S. timber importers and re-exporters and refer to our Q&A. Additionally, we encourage you to view one or both of the informational webinars recently hosted by the International Wood Products Association (IWPA) and League of American Orchestras (LAO) on this topic. The webinars cover critical updates and provide guidance on how to comply with the laws that protect wildlife and plants. To view the International Wood Products Association webinar, which features guidance for commercial timber and wood products traders, please visit the following URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/825012870722049 To view the League of American Orchestras webinar, which features guidance for traveling musicians, please visit the following URL: https://youtu.be/p7EXqrPNFFM
Solving a Whale Mystery: With Temporary Tattoos, Ecotourism, and Local Communities
December 20: We asked Katherina Audley, the founder and leader of The Whales of Guerrero Research Project to answer some questions about her work. The project aims to cultivate an ethos of stewardship through citizen science and educational outreach in local communities on the western Mexican coast, where wildlife is rich and abundant but in need of conservation. Read more.
Partnership with JetBlue Creates On-board Video to Help Travelers "Buy Informed"
November 18: JetBlue, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance are educating travelers about how to “buy informed” and travel smart to the Caribbean. Thanks to this partnership, JetBlue is now airing a short film on all flights informing customers of the role they play in protecting Caribbean wildlife and preserving the region’s beauty. The video, featuring local Caribbean conservation heroes, will arm travelers with the right questions to ask when purchasing wildlife and plant-related products. View the video here.
An increased interest in Caribbean wildlife is fueling trafficking of the area’s plants, animals and other natural resources. This is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of animal species such as sea turtles, blue and gold macaws and coral reefs – natural treasures that draw travelers to the Caribbean. In many cases, visitors may unwittingly be contributing to the decline of the very things they want to experience. Read more.
Service Grants to Fund Trained Rats, Other Innovative Approaches to Protect Wildlife from Trafficking
October 21: 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 13 countries. News Release » Project Summaries »
Key Updates from CITES CoP17
October 3rd: Marine Species Take Center Stage at Global Wildlife Trade Meeting October 3rd: Global Protections Achieved for Imperiled Reptiles October 3rd: U.S. Statement on Swaziland Proposal to Commercialize Rhino Horn October 3rd: Statement on U.S. Vote on African Elephant CITES Uplisting Proposal October 2nd: CITES Members Urged to Close Domestic Ivory Markets October 2nd: Strongest CITES Protections Signal Hopeful Future for African Grey Parrots
CITES Unites to Change the Fate of Pangolins
September 28, 2016: (Johannesburg, South Africa) Pangolins—also known as scaly anteaters--have been recommended for increased protections today by Parties to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES member nations, referred to as “Parties,” voted to increase protections for pangolins by recommending adoption of proposals to transfer pangolins from Appendix II to Appendix I of the treaty. There are eight species of pangolins—four are found in Asia, including one that is endemic to the Philippines, while four others occur in Africa. Leading up to and during this meeting, the United States worked closely with a coalition of countries and non-government organizations committed to gaining support for the Appendix I-listing proposals. Parties will vote at the conclusion of the 17th Conference of the Parties to finalize these protections. Read more.
Announcement of Tentative U.S. Negotiating Positions for Agenda Items and Species Proposals Submitted by Foreign Governments and the CITES Secretariat
September 21, 2016: We, the United States, as a Party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), will attend the seventeenth regular meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) in Johannesburg, South Africa, from September 24 to October 5, 2016. This notice announces the tentative U.S. negotiating positions on amendments to the CITES Appendices (species proposals), draft resolutions and decisions, and agenda items submitted by other countries and the CITES Secretariat for consideration at CoP17. Please note that we published a notice in the Federal Register on September 23, 2016 announcing the availability on our website of our tentative U.S. negotiating positions on issues under consideration at CoP17. Please click here for extended Web Version
Service and Partners Urge Public to #stopwildlifetrafficking At Back-to-Back Events
September 8, 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 »
Wild Aid Partnership Learn More >> Rhino Horn Burn News Release » Rhino Horn Burn FAQs » Rhino Horn Burn What People are Saying »
Caribbean Wildlife Enforcement Network Proposed to Combat Trafficking
August 5, 2016: Wildlife trafficking in the Caribbean threatens such celebrated species as parrots and macaws, critically endangered rock iguanas, marine turtles, corals, and the highly valued queen conch and spiny lobster. In response, 11 Caribbean countries including the United States, conservation groups and intergovernmental organizations came together last month to increase cooperation to combat wildlife trafficking in the region. Read more.
Operation Crash Team Could Win Prestigious Government ‘Oscar’ Award – Polls Now Open!
July 25, 2016: In May, we were delighted to learn that Law Enforcement Deputy Chief Ed Grace and his Operation Crash team were named as finalists in the “Oscars” of government service, and voting is now open for the “People’s Choice” award. Ed and team were nominated in the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement category of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals. Named after the founder of the Partnership for Public Service, the prestigious “Sammies” highlight the best work of our country’s dedicated public servants. An official selection committee chooses the eight category winners, but the public chooses who gets the the People’s Choice award. Read more.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Announces the Establishment of Lomami National Park
July 13, 2016: Lomami, the first new national park created in the DRC in more than 40 years, encompasses nearly 2.2 million acres of uninhabited forest teeming with wildlife found nowhere else on earth, such as the bonobo, okapi, and Congo peafowl, as well as forest elephants and many other wildlife species. Read U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director (USFWS) Dan Ashe's Huffington Post article, "A Milestone in Conservation for Central African Wildlife." USFWS Biologist Matt Muir also writes about "Visiting Lomami National Park Before it was Officially a Park."
Near-Total Ban on African Elephant Ivory Goes into Effect
July 6, 2016: A near-total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory went into effect in the United States. African elephants are being poached at unprecedented levels to supply the illegal ivory trade, and the United States is among the largest markets for illegal ivory. We’ve implemented this near-total ban to ensure that U.S. domestic markets do not contribute to the decline of elephants in the wild. It’s important to note that the new regulations do not restrict personal possession of ivory. If you already own ivory – an heirloom carving that’s been passed down in your family, or a vintage musical instrument with ivory components, those pieces are yours to keep. Visit our “What Can I Do With My Ivory?” page to learn more.
Migratory Bird Conservation and #BirdYear a Focus at Recent North American Summit
June 27, 2016: In May, conservation officials met in Ottawa, Canada for the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Canada/Mexico/US Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation & Management. The Committee serves as a method for collaboration between all three countries to conserve wildlife and landscapes. This year, the spotlight of the meeting shined on migratory birds. At a press event, the new State of North America's Birds Report 2016 was released. Read more.
45-Day Public Comment Period Opens for CoP17 Agenda; Public Meeting Set for July 19
June 23, 2016 - The Service has published a Federal Register notice announcing the provisional agenda for CoP17 and soliciting comments on the items on the provisional agenda. We will consider written information and comments received by August 8, 2016. We will also hold a public meeting on July 19, 2016, at 1:00PM in the South Interior Building Auditorium at 1951 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC. A livestream of the meeting will be available on our CITES CoP17 webpage. For more information on how to submit comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.
Administration Completes Near-Total Ivory Ban to Protect African Elephants
June 2, 2016: In a significant move to protect one of the world's most cherished species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today completed a near-total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory by issuing a final rule under the Endangered Species Act. The final rule prohibits most commerce in ivory but makes specific, limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items such as musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms that contain less than 200 grams of ivory and meet other specific criteria. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, June 6, 2016 and will be effective after 30 days on July 6, 2016. Read the news release and Q&A for more information.
U.S. Announces CITES Protections for Four Native Freshwater Turtles
May 23, 2016: The Service today celebrates World Turtle Day by announcing a final rule to protect four species of native freshwater turtles under Appendix III of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The listing of the common snapping, Florida softshell, smooth softshell and spiny softshell turtles under CITES will require exporters to obtain a permit before shipping turtles overseas, helping the United States to ensure trade is legal. The listing will become effective after 180 days on November 21, 2016. Read the news release, FAQs and the freshwater turtles permits webpage for more information.
U.S. to Fight for Pangolins, African Grey Parrots, Nautilus, and more at CITES
April 28, 2016: The United States has released a list of proposals it will submit or co-sponsor at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) this fall. Proposals gaining support include ones that would halt commercial trade in pangolins and wild African grey parrots, and others to regulate the trade in nautilus and softshell turtles. The U.S. is also calling for the closing of domestic ivory markets and increased focus on reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products. In the coming months, we will continue to engage the public as we evaluate documents submitted by other countries and develop negotiating positions on the full agenda of CoP17. Check out our blog for a summary of the U.S. supported proposals, or visit our webpage to download the full text of each document.
[Videos] Voice of America Does Stories on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grant Projects in Guatemala
April 27, 2016: Voz de América (Voice of America) recently did a series of video segments about projects in Guatemala funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Central America Program. We've embedded the videos onto one page and have also included descriptions for each of the projects that are featured. Watch the videos here.
Service Strengthens Protections for Captive Tigers under the Endangered Species Act
April 5, 2016: In an effort to strengthen protections for certain captive tigers under the Endangered Species Act, the Service has finalized a rule declaring that anyone selling tigers across state lines must now first obtain an interstate commerce permit or register under the Captive-bred Wildlife Registration program. “Removing the loophole that enabled some tigers to be sold for purposes that do not benefit tigers in the wild will strengthen protections for these magnificent creatures and help reduce the trade in tigers that is so detrimental to wild populations,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “This will be a positive driver for tiger conservation.” Read the press release and FAQs for more information.
Public Meeting of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking Scheduled for April 15, 2016
March 30, 2016: The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking has announced its next meeting for Friday, April 15, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Members of this non-government advisory body represent the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and others who are in a position to provide expertise and support to federal agencies working to combat wildlife trafficking. To attend the meeting in person, you must register by close of business on April 8, 2016. For more information on participating in the meeting, or submitting questions or comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.
Eighteen West and Central African Countries Unite in the Fight Against Illegal Wildlife Trade
March 17, 2016: Over the last two days, 18 West and Central African countries met in Dakar, Senegal, to discuss their joint commitment to fight against wildlife trafficking that threatens the conservation of biodiversity in Africa. The workshop, which was organized by the government of Senegal, culminated in the adoption of jointly agreed initiatives for the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service proudly supported this workshop and applauds the leadership of these African nations to coordinate wildlife enforcement efforts and tackle illicit wildlife trade. Read more in this press release from the Government of Senegal.
Celebrating Conservation in Central America
March 7, 2016: This week we are excited to feature a series of articles about some of the most important landscapes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helps to protect in Central America, that are home to an incredibly biodiverse array of wildlife. As part of “Central America Week,” we invite you to learn more about our cornerstone strategy with Wildlife Conservation Society to protect Central America’s five largest remaining wild places. We will also be spotlighting some of the charismatic species that live in these critical habitats. Read more.
Service and JetBlue Forge New Partnership to Reduce Demand for Illegal Wildlife Trade
March 3, 2016: JetBlue and the Service today revealed a five-year partnership agreement to encourage and empower travelers to play a role in protecting the beauty and wildlife of one of the world’s most popular destinations: the Caribbean. The partnership will involve a traveler education and awareness campaign, including an in-flight video plus web and social media content designed to reduce demand for illegal wildlife. Wildlife trafficking in the area is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of animal species such as sea turtles, parrots, iguanas and coral. Read more.
Wildlife Trafficking Task Force Releases First Annual Progress Report
March 3, 2016: The Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking released its first annual Progress Assessment today, World Wildlife Day. The report details accomplishments of the Task Force in implementing the U.S. National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking in its first year, as well as future efforts in the fight against this illegal trade. President Obama created the Task Force in 2013, bringing together 17 federal departments and offices in a whole-of-government approach to halt illegal activities that threaten the survival of elephants, rhinos, and other iconic species. Read the report.
Notice of Funding Opportunity: Combating Wildlife Trafficking
February 22, 2016: On February 11, 2014, President Obama issued the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Incorporating recommendations from the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, the Implementation Plan was released on February 11, 2015 to guide and direct the efforts of Federal agencies in executing the Strategy.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is identified as a lead or participating agency in all 24 Implementation Plan Objectives, reflecting the commitment and history of USFWS International Affairs and Office of Law Enforcement in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. To complement and facilitate existing efforts, USFWS has developed a Notice of Funding Opportunity to provide financial assistance to projects that advance counter-wildlife trafficking activities (wildlife defined to include terrestrial and aquatic species and timber) as outlined in the Next Steps of the National Strategy’s Implementation Plan. Read more.
Stamping Out Extinction Public Lecture at Smithsonian’s National Zoo
February 21, 2016: The National Zoo and National Postal Museum are teaming up with U.S. Fish and Wildlife for a free public lecture on Thursday, March 3, World Wildlife Day. The lecture features Nancy Stahl and Bryan Arroyo. Attendees will learn about the process behind the creation of a semi-postal stamp and how funds from selling the stamp have contributed to saving species worldwide. A stamp signing will take place before the event at 5:30 p.m. in the Zoo’s Visitor Center lobby. Stamp sheets will be available for purchase, and any donations will support the National Zoo’s conservation efforts. Parking is free for lecture attendees. Read more.
Happy World Pangolin Day
February 20, 2016: This World Pangolin Day, we wanted to share with you five amazing things about pangolins you may not have known. We’re also excited to share that we are working with a group of highly committed and enthusiastic conservationists to champion the conservation of pangolins in Central Africa: The MENTOR-POP (Progress on Pangolins) Fellowship program, a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Read more.
Securing the Future of Elephants in Sri Lanka
February 5, 2016: Last week, giant green stone crushers crunched and pulverized contraband ivory at a high-profile public awareness event set in the capital city of Sri Lanka, Colombo. Beyond political and symbolic actions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also helped support Sri Lanka's elephants through the Udawalawe Elephant Research Project. It is the longest-running research effort for Asian elephants and provides an in-depth understanding of the status and health of the elephant population and the effects different mortality rates can have on future generations. The project provides vital insight for the design and application of evidence-based conservation in Sri Lanka and the world. Read more.
Sri Lanka Becomes First South Asian Nation to Destroy Ivory Stockpile
January 29, 2016: Earlier this week, Sri Lanka crushed and burned 359 tusks, approximately 1.5 metric tons of ivory, in a public awareness event in Colombo. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service applauds this action, which demonstrates Sri Lanka’s strong stance against the illegal killing of elephants and adds their nation to a growing international movement to combat wildlife trafficking. Read more.
Federal Register Notice: Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for Swaziland Elephants
January 21, 2016:The Service has published a Federal Register notice making available the final environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for a permit application submitted by the Dallas Zoo to import up to 18 elephants from Swaziland to the United States. The Service has determined that the proposed import meets regulatory requirements under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service therefore has approved the permit request. Please refer to the Federal Register notice and the Q&A for more information.
U.S., China Share Best Practices for Wetlands Management
January 13, 2016: Because of China’s large population, it faces many challenges for managing its water resources to restore natural habitats and mitigate damages from floods and landslides. So last month, we hosted a group of Chinese wetlands officials touring protected areas in southern Florida. The goal for this trip was to learn about wetlands restoration, monitoring and management in the United States and provide new ideas for the Chinese on how to manage wetlands in their home country. Read more.
ESA Listing Protects Lions in Africa and India, Director’s Order Strengthens Wildlife Import Restrictions for Wildlife Law Violators
December 21, 2015: In response to the dramatic decline of lion populations in the wild, the Service today announced it will list two lion subspecies under the Endangered Species Act. Panthera leo leo, located in India and western and central Africa, will be listed as endangered, and Panthera leo melanochaita, located in eastern and southern Africa, will be listed as threatened. Lion populations have declined by 43 percent due to habitat loss, loss of prey base, and retaliatory killing of lions by humans. Director Dan Ashe also issued a Director’s Order to ensure violators of wildlife laws are not subsequently granted permits for future wildlife-related activities, including the import of sport-hunted trophies. Learn more.
Costa Rica and U.S. Strengthen Conservation Partnership
December 15, 2015: On November 11, the governments of Costa Rica and the United States signed a new agreement to further collaborate on important conservation initiatives throughout Costa Rica. The new agreement will help both countries further pool resources to protect Costa Rican national parks, reserves and other protected areas, as well as work together to conduct research, share expertise, cultivate local stewardship and champions, and collaborate with indigenous and forest communities. There is also an emphasis on teaming up to combat illegal wildlife trafficking. Read more.
Protecting Sea Turtles in Vietnam by Cultivating Local Stewards and Taking on Traffickers
December 4, 2015: In partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature – Vietnam (IUCN-Vietnam), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through our Marine Turtle Conservation Fund, is cultivating community backing and supporting a volunteer program to monitor and protect nesting green turtles in Vietnam’s Con Dao National Park, home of the most important sea turtle nesting beaches remaining in the country. Read more.
CITES CoP17: Open Public Comment Period
December 4, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting information on resolutions, decisions and agenda items being considered for submission to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24 – October 5, 2016. The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. An extended version of this notice describes each recommended action, as well as those developed internally, and explains the rationale for United States' current thinking and tentative positions. The Service will review and consider all comments received on or before February 2, 2016 before making a final decision on any action. This notice also provides information on how non-governmental organizations based in the United States can attend CoP17 as observers. Please refer to the news release for more information.
Celebrating Manatee Awareness Month
November 24, 2015: Did you know that November is Manatee Awareness Month? These gentle, slow-moving marine mammals have endeared themselves to generations and long inspired tales of the sea. Early explorers of the ocean once mistook manatees for young women, fueling legends of mermaids. In several African countries, a manatee may be known as a “mamiwata” a name given to a spirit believed to be embodied by the manatee.
Through our International Affairs Africa Regional Program, we’re working to conserve African manatees, which inhabit 21 countries in Africa. Read more.
A Green Triangle of Hope in Fire-ravaged Indonesia
November 6, 2015: Fires are devastating Indonesia, threatening gibbons, orangutans, elephants and other wildlife, as well as people. The Global Fire Emissions Database reports that satellites have detected more than 117,000 active fires in 2015 through October 28. However, within the borders of Indonesia’s Way Kambas National Park (WKNP), a small green triangle marks an area where successful fire prevention efforts have cleared smoke, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the devastation. Since 2008, we, through the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, have supported forest patrols and other work in WKNP. Fire prevention efforts are among the many responsibilities of these patrol teams, and over the last several weeks, they have been on the front lines fighting fires. Read more.
Open Public Comment Period: Draft Environmental Assessment for Swaziland Elephants
October 22, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on a draft Environmental Assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regarding a permit application from the Dallas Zoo (Dallas, TX), which requests authorization under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to import 18 live wild-captured elephants from Swaziland. The notice will be open for public comment until November 23, 2015. Please refer to the Federal Register for additional information and instructions on how to submit comments. A permit for the import of live elephants from Swaziland has not been issued.
Service Protects Two Rare Macaw Species
October 1, 2015: The Service today announced it is listing the military and great green macaws as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Both bird species are endemic to Central and South America. The agency found that both species are in decline, primarily due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, small population size, and poaching. Please refer to the news release and the Q&A for more information.
Celebrating the One-year Anniversary of the MESOAMERICA 2020 Partnership
September 21, 2015: Mesoamerica, which ranges from central Mexico down to the Panama Canal, contains less than one percent of the world's land surface, but is home to seven percent of our global biodiversity. Unfortunately, many of the species and ecosystems of Mesoamerica are under severe threat. In 2014, the Service together with the Organization of American States launched MESOAMERICA 2020 to partner with governments, non-governmental organizations and local communities in the region. Read about challenges and opportunities ahead in Director Dan Ashe's blog as the partnership celebrates its one-year anniversary.
Service Extends Period of Nominations for Members of Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking
September 10, 2015: In a Federal Register notice published today, the Service extended the nomination period for members of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking until September 25, 2015. The Council advises and makes recommendations on issues related to combating wildlife trafficking, including improving anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts and reducing demand for illegal wildlife products in the U.S. For more information about the Advisory Council and the nominations process, click here.
CITES CoP17: Open Public Comment Period
August 26, 2015: The Service has published a Federal Register notice requesting feedback on certain species proposals under consideration for submission to the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 24 – October 5, 2016. The notice will be open for public comment for 60 days. An extended version of this notice describes each recommended action, as well as those developed internally, and explains the rationale for United States' current thinking about submission of species proposals for CoP17. The Service will review and consider all comments received by October 26, 2015 before publishing a final rule. Please refer to the news release and Q&A for more information.
Service Director Lauds United Nations General Assembly Resolution on Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
August 03, 2015: Service Director Dan Ashe recently commended the United Nations General Assembly for adopting an important resolution on illegal wildlife trafficking. The resolution underscores the global commitment to the fight against the growing illegal wildlife trade and those who threaten the future of many of our planet’s species. Read the Director's Statement and the UN Resolution.
President Obama Announces Proposal to Tighten Controls on Domestic Ivory Trade
July 25, 2015: In response to a growing poaching crisis that is rapidly pushing populations of African elephants, rhinos and other species to the brink of extinction, President Obama today announced that the Service is proposing new regulations that will result in a near total ban on the domestic commercial trade of African elephant ivory. The proposed revisions to the African elephant rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would prohibit most interstate commerce (sales across state lines) in African elephant ivory and would further restrict commercial exports. The proposed rule includes limited exceptions for antiques, as defined under the ESA, and certain pre-existing manufactured items such as musical instruments that contain less than 200 grams of ivory. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, July 29 and will be open for public comment for 60 days. The Service will review and consider all comments received by September 28, 2015 before publishing a final rule. Please refer to the news release and Q&A for more information.
Service to Continue to Deny Access to Imported Elephant Trophies from Tanzania
July 10, 2015: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will continue to deny import of African elephant sport-hunted trophies taken from Tanzania into the United States in 2015. The Service’s decision is based on the current situation on the ground in Tanzania, including questionable management practices, a lack of effective law enforcement, and weak governance, which have resulted in uncontrolled poaching and catastrophic population declines of African elephants.Please refer to the news bulletin and Q&A for additional information.
First Pangolin Range States Meeting Co-hosted by Vietnam and the United States
June 24-26, 2015: Delegates from African and Asian pangolin range countries joined together for the first time to develop a unified conservation action plan to protect pangolins at the First Pangolin Range States Meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam. The governments of Vietnam and the United States co-hosted the meeting, which was organized and facilitated by Humane Society International.Learn more at the Humane Society International press release and the USFWS pangolin webpage.
U.S. to Destroy More than One Ton of Confiscated Ivory
June 18, 2015: On Friday, the Service, with wildlife and conservation partners, will publicly crush more than one ton of confiscated ivory in Times Square in downtown New York City. As with the first Ivory Crush in 2013, the event sends the message that the United States will not tolerate this illegal trade. The Crush will also educate people about the harm buying ivory can do and how they can help in the fight to save the elephants. Learn more.
Service Commends China for Ivory Destruction
May 29, 2015: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service commends the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its destruction of more than 1400 pounds of illegal ivory in Beijing and for committing to the eventual phase-out of the processing and sale of ivory and ivory products. These actions underscore their commitment to halt the illegal wildlife trade and raise awareness within China and around the globe about a wildlife trafficking crisis that threatens the future of African elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, and a host of other species. Read the USFWS statement and view photos from the event.
CITES CoP17: Open Public Comment Period
May 11, 2015: The Service published a Federal Register notice requesting recommendations on resolutions, decisions, and agenda items for the United States to consider submitting for discussion at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in South Africa in September 2016. Public comments will be accepted until July 10, 2015. For additional information or instructions on how to submit comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.
Strengthened Partnership to Prevent Extinctions from Islands
April 29, 2015: On the final day of the Trilateral Committee annual meeting, the Service strengthened its 17-year old partnership with the non-governmental organization Island Conservation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU promotes a coordinated approach to removing invasive alien species from islands - an action that can help prevent extinctions of iguanas, lizards, and a number of other species. Read more in a joint blog by Bryan Arroyo, the Service’s Assistant Director for International Affairs, and Gregg Howald, North American Regional Director for Island Conservation.
Historical Progress for Bats, this Bat Appreciation Day
April 17, 2015: For the first time in history, North American nations have formalized their shared commitment to bat conservation. At this week’s Trilateral Committee annual meeting, wildlife leaders representing Canada, Mexico and the United States signed a Letter of Intent to strengthen cooperation, coordination and information-sharing related to the conservation and management of more than 150 bat species across all the three nations. Celebrate National Bat Appreciation Day by reading and sharing our latest blog!
Girl Scouts and North American Conservation Leaders Grow Strategies for Saving Monarch Butterfly
April 16, 2015: Conservation leaders from Canada, Mexico and the United States joined forces with Girl Scout troops yesterday to plant 80 native milkweed plants for monarch butterflies at the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Conservation of the monarch butterfly is one of the priorities discussed at this week’s 20th annual meeting of the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management in San Diego, California. Visit the Director’s blog and event photo album to learn more.
The United States and Mexico Continue to Work Tirelessly Towards Recovery of the California Condor
April 15, 2015:The California condor is one of the species of common conservation concern discussed at the annual meeting of the Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management - held this week in San Diego, California. Historically, the California condor's range covered most of North America. By 1982, only 22 survived in the wild. Learn how Mexican and U.S. conservation leaders are working hard to bring the California condor back in our latest blog.
Honoring Mexican Conservation Heroes
April 8, 2015: As Canada, Mexico and the United States engage in collaborative conservation during the upcoming week’s Canada/Mexico/US Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management, we are proud to highlight three conservation leaders affiliated with our Mexico Program, which has provided funds for 351 grants in Mexico totaling more than $11 million and raising an additional $26 million in leveraged funds. Read more about three of our Mexican conservation heroes in our blog.
Minnesota Teacher Introduces High-School Students to Wildlife Forensics
April 6, 2015: Last month, the Service’s Forensics Laboratory – the only lab in the world dedicated to crimes against wildlife – held a live webcast to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of wildlife forensics. The webcast was a useful tool to Minnesota biology teacher Letitia Laske, who spearheaded a wildlife forensics high school class in Minnesota’s Brainerd High School and is currently in her first year of teaching it to juniors and seniors. Read more about this inspiring teacher’s efforts on our blog.
Public Meeting of the Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking Scheduled for April 23, 2015
April 2, 2015: The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking has announced its next meeting for Thursday, April 23, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern Time. Members of this non-government advisory body represent the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and others who are in a position to provide expertise and support to federal agencies working to combat wildlife trafficking. To attend the meeting in person, you must register by close of business on April 15, 2015. For more information on participating in the meeting, or submitting questions or comments, please refer to the Federal Register notice.
Decisions on Import of Sport-Hunted Trophies Support Conservation of Rhinos and Elephants
Effective March 26, 2015: Based on extensive assessments of the associated conservation and management programs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has found that the import of two sport-hunted black rhinoceros trophies from Namibia will benefit conservation of the species, while the import of any elephant sport-hunted trophy from Zimbabwe will not. Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service authorizes imports for sport-hunted trophies of elephants and rhinos only when hunting in the country of origin is well-regulated, sustainable and benefits conservation of the species in question. For more information, please refer to the press release, Q&A on Zimbabwe elephants, and Q&A on Namibia's black rhinos.
Service Lists Four Nonnative, Large Constrictor Snakes as Injurious Wildlife
March 6, 2015: The Service has declared the reticulated python, DeSchauensee's anaconda, green anaconda and Beni anaconda to be "injurious" under the Lacey Act. This action, which will go into effect on April 9, 2015, will prohibit import of the four snakes into the United States and its territories, as well as transport across state lines for snakes already in the country, and is intended to help restrict the snakes' spread in the wild. For more information on how this action will impact snake owners, please refer to our factsheet.
Service, Partners Fight Wildlife Crime
March 3, 2015: Poaching and wildlife trafficking threaten some of the world’s best known and most beloved species, including elephants and rhinos, as well as lesser-known species like the pangolin. On this World Wildlife Day, the Service’s headquarters joins partners around the world to show that we are serious about wildlife crime. With the Ivory Crush, Operation Crash, National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and, in 2014 alone, more than $15 million invested in wildlife security support worldwide through the Multinational Species Conservation Funds and Wildlife Without Borders – Africa, the U.S. and the Service are hard at work to end the global crisis.
Implementation Plan for National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking Released
February 11, 2015:The U.S. Departments of the Interior, Justice, and State have released the implementation plan for the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Building upon the Strategy’s three objectives – strengthening enforcement, reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife, and expanding international cooperation – the plan lays out next steps, identifies lead and participating agencies for each objective, and defines how progress will be measured. Read the implementation plan and Director’s blog for more information.
Report to President: Actions Taken in Response to Iceland's Trade in Whale Meat and Products
January 30, 2015: The Secretaries of the Interior, State, and Commerce have submitted a report to the President outlining actions that have been taken by U.S. agencies and departments to encourage Iceland to halt commercial whaling and international trade in whale meat, and support international conservation efforts. In April 2014, the President directed federal agencies to undertake and report on such actions in response to the Secretary of the Interior’s certification that Iceland’s international trade in whale meat and products diminishes the effectiveness of CITES. Read the report.
Guatemala lists its populations of four rosewood species in Appendix III of CITES
Effective February 5, 2015: Certain commodities of Guatemala's populations of four rosewood species (Dalbergia calycina, Dalbergia cubilquitzensis, Dalbergia glomerata, and Dalbergia tucurensis) have been listed in CITES Appendix III and require CITES documentation for import and re-export from the United States. For additional information on this listing, please read this announcement to U.S. timber importers and re-exporters.
Are You Part of the Conversation?
January 6, 2015: Have you liked us on Facebook yet? Are you following us on Twitter? We're taking a look back at our top social media posts throughout 2014. With your help - your comments, shares, retweets - we've reached audiences around the globe with our message of conservation. We thank you for your support and look forward to working with you in 2015 and beyond!
Crush the Demand: Help Raise Awareness about Poaching’s Devastating Effect on Elephants
December, 2014: UPDATE: There’s still time! The submission deadline for the Crushed Ivory Design Challenge has been extended until 11:59 a.m. Mar. 31, 2014. The Service is extending the deadline in response to an overwhelming public request for more time to create thoughtful and informative designs. We urge you and your agency to be a part of this innovative public awareness effort to help save elephants and endangered wildlife. Click HERE to learn more.
December 12, 2014: Assistant Director for International Affairs, Bryan Arroyo, was in Costa Rica last week to celebrate the graduation of the first group of students with a Master’s in Conservation Practice from Costa Rica’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). Read more about the CATIE Program and the Service's involvement in this web story. Get inspired by these interviews with some of the Program's recent graduates, who are ready to implement their new knowledge and skills and become conservation leaders in their regions and around the world.
November 21, 2014: Thanks to conservation efforts supported by the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Fund, the 40+ tigers in India's Tadoba - Andhari Tiger Reserve are doing well. Unfortunately, people living in the Reserve’s buffer zone are experiencing an increase in conflict with tigers and leopards. Tiger Research And Conservation Trust (TRACT), is working with the Forest Department and affected villagers to reduce human-big cat conflict. Read more about this project, the resilience of the affected villagers, and their determination to coexist with tigers in our latest blog.
November 17, 2014: Director Dan Ashe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service applaud Gabon's decision to protect more than 18,000 square miles of its territorial waters, home to one of the world's most productive marine ecosystems. Gabon also has 13 national parks that protect 10 percent of its land, and the Service is proud to support this conservation leader. Read the full statement here.
November 14, 2014: Exactly one year ago, the United States sparked the imagination and conscience of the world when the Service crushed more than six tons of seized illegal elephant ivory. With the Ivory Crush, the United States assumed a leadership role in efforts to fight poaching and wildlife trafficking. Read more in the Director's blog.
November 14, 2014: At its Protectors of African Parks benefit, the African Parks Foundation of America presented the Service’s Richard Ruggiero a bronze elephant sculpture to honor his lifetime commitment to Africa's wildlife and his support of African Parks on behalf of the Service. Ruggiero, the Chief of the Division of International Conservation, has been with the Service for 16 years. He spent 17 years gaining on-the-ground experience in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, Gabon and the Central African Republic. Richard completed his Ph.D in 1989 with a dissertation on the Behavioral Ecology of the African Elephant in north-central Africa.
November 10, 2014: The Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative's Flyways Plan for the America's was adopted by the Convention on Migratory Species Conference of Parties as their plan for the Americas! You can find more information at http://bit.ly/10QPv6D
October 29, 2014: A booming international trade in turtles has put pressure on populations across the country and has led to concern about the long-term survival of our native turtles. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today announced a proposed rule to bring four native freshwater turtle species – the common snapping turtle, the Florida softshell turtle, the smooth softshell turtle and the spiny softshell turtle – under the protection CITES. If finalized, this action will address the growing threat of illegal take and trade in native turtles. For more information, please refer to the press release, Q&As, and Federal Register Notice.
October 21, 2014: After almost a year, the public can again purchase the Save Vanishing Species Stamp at post offices and online. The stamp functions as a regular postal mail stamp that sells at a small premium. The additional money goes to the Service's Multinational Species Conservation Funds, directly funding conservation of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, great apes and marine turtles. Click here for more information. Order Stamps Online
October 15, 2014: There’s still time! The submission deadline for the Crushed Ivory Design Challenge has been extended until 11:59 a.m. Dec. 31, 2014. The Service is extending the deadline in response to an overwhelming public request for more time to create thoughtful and informative designs. We urge you and your agency to be a part of this innovative public awareness effort to help save elephants and endangered wildlife. Click HERE to learn more.
September 29, 2014: For this meeting, the Council would like to focus on a broader range of wildlife trafficking issues beyond the elephant and rhino issues per the Executive Order's charge to the Council. To this effect, the Council seeks to solicit statements and testimony from experts regarding additional species impacted by wildlife trafficking that, in their view, deserve priority attention from the Task Force and Council. Details for submitting presentations on species impacted by wildlife trafficking to the Advisory Council can be found in the Federal Register notice below.
For more information please see the full Federal Register Notice of Meeting.
September 29, 2014: Dogs can be trained to be valuable partners in the fight against wildlife crime. They can help track down poachers and investigate crime - while providing safety to the rangers they accompany - or help detect wildlife products that have entered the supply chain. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has supported conservation dog projects since 1999. One of the program officers of the Service's Division of International Conservation recently participated in a review of conservation dog projects across Africa. Read more about his experiences here.
September 02, 2014: The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Geographic designed a public service campaign, now showing in New York City’s Times Square, to educate consumers about the devastating impact of the illegal ivory trade on elephants. Find out more information by reading the Director's Blog.
Effective September 14, 2014: If you plan to engage in international trade (e.g., fishing on the high seas and landing in the United States or in a foreign country, importing, exporting, or re-exporting) of scalloped, great, or smooth hammerhead sharks; oceanic whitetip sharks; porbeagle sharks; or manta rays; you need to apply for and obtain appropriate CITES documents. These commercially harvested shark and ray species were listed in Appendix II of CITES in March 2013 to protect them from over-exploitation for international trade. Click here for more information on how to comply with these new requirements.
August 20, 2014: Gloria Bell has been selected as the Deputy Assistant Director for the International Affairs Program,providing critical support and guidance to further the Program's mission and effectiveness of its conservation work. Dr. Richard Ruggiero will serve as the Chief of the Division of International Conservation, overseeing the Wildlife Without Borders Regional, Species, and Global Programs. Click here for more information.
August 19, 2014: Wildlife Without Borders - Mexico in partnership with WWF-TRAFFIC and the Attorney General for the Protection of the Environment of Mexico (PROFEPA) implemented a national capacity building "Train the Trainer" workshop for 37 government officials from the most relevant regions in Mexico linked to the regulation, monitoring, control and conservation of natural resources in the country. The workshop agenda covered a wide spectrum of relevant topics, from recent analyses on the status of wildlife management and trade trends in Mexico, to hands-on specimen identification techniques on CITES species. As a result, an additional 132 officers have received instruction from 18 trainees in 10 different states, with 6 more local workshops planned for the near future. Click here for more information about Wildlife Without Borders - Mexico.
June 26, 2014 - The Service published a Federal Register notice requesting recommendations for animal and plant species that may warrant a change in protection or need protection under CITES. The Service will consider these recommendations and determine whether to put forward a proposal for consideration at the 17th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) to CITES to be held in South Africa in 2016. Public comments will be accepted until August 26, 2014. Click here to read the Federal Register notice and learn how to submit comments.
A new agreement among Canada, México, and the United States to help protect imperiled species on fragile island ecosystem was endorsed on May 28, 2014 by the Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Parks Canada and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the annual Trilateral Committee Meeting in Querétaro, México.
Several federal agencies and non-governmental organizations with complementary missions are joining this effort. Collaborators will promote sustainable environmental practices and effective measures as well as develop and implement a plan of action for island restoration and conservation cooperative projects. Click here to learn more about this effort.
July 23, 2014: Following evaluation of all available information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed the suspension of the import of elephant trophies harvested in Zimbabwe on or after April 4, 2014, the date an interim suspension was announced. For more information on this decision, please read the press release and visit our Q&As page.
Effective June 24, 2014: Certain commodities of Yucatan rosewood (Dalbergia tucurensis), Mongolian oak (Quercus mongolica) and Manchurian ash (Fraxinus mandshurica) have been listed in CITES Appendix III and require CITES documentation for import and re-export from the United States. For additional information on this listing, please read this letter to U.S. timber importers and re-exporters.
May 27, 2014 - A final rule has been published revising the regulations that implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the United States. The revised regulations incorporate certain provisions adopted at the fourteenth and fifteenth meetings of the Conference of the Parties to CITES and clarify other provisions to help us more effectively promote species conservation and fulfill our responsibilities under the Treaty. For a summary of the revisions, click here. The revised regulations will be effective on June 26, 2014.
May 15, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced two actions relating to commercial trade in elephant ivory. These actions will help ensure that domestic markets do not contribute to the decline of African elephants in the wild, while also allowing certain activities to continue that we do not believe are contributing to poaching or illegal trade.Click here for the full press release. Click here for the Ivory Ban Q & A.
The forests of the Pilibhit Forest Division in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) have been declared the newest Tiger Reserve of India. In 2010 the Wildlife Without Borders’ Rhinoceros and Tiger Fund awarded World Wildlife Fund for Nature-India a grant of $59,963 which was matched with $124,833. This forest is home to 20 tigers but can accommodate 40.
June 9, 2014 - The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking (Advisory Council), called upon by President Obama's Executive Order in 2013, held a third public meeting on Monday, June 9th, to consider recommendations for the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking (Task Force), discuss administrative topics, and hear public comments and questions. At this meeting, the Advisory Council adopted, by consensus, a set of recommendations to implement the National Strategy on Wildlife Trafficking and has submitted these recommendations to the Task Force for consideration.
May 9, 2014 - Melvin Gumal is a long time WCS Great Ape Conservation Fund grantee; Shivani Bhalla is a graduate of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Program, which receives funding from the Wildlife Without Borders Program; Marites (Tess) Gatan-Balbas, Mabuwaya Deputy Director / Field Operations Manager is a Critically Endangered Animals Fund grantee; Paula Kahumbu was one of the speakers at the Service’s Ivory Crush in Colorado in November 14, 2013. Click here to see the Award Winners. Click here to see who got the Green Oscar.
April 4, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a suspension of imports of sport-hunted African elephant trophies taken in Tanzania and Zimbabwe during calendar year 2014. Read the press release and Q&As to learn more about this decision. UPDATE as of 4/21/14: We have received a number of requests for additional information on the science and rationale that support these decisions. To address these requests, we have posted the required ESA and CITES findings to our website. Please click the links that follow to access a pdf version of these findings. Zimbabwe- Endangered Species Act enhancement finding and Tanzania- CITES non-detriment finding; Endangered Species Act enhancement finding Click here to access the Federal Register notice published on May 12, 2014.
February 19, 2014 - President Obama, Prime Minister Harper and President Peña Nieto recently met in Toluca, Mexico for the North American Leaders Summit. The leaders emerged with several commitments including the conservation of the periled Monarch butterfly. The Canada/Mexico/U.S. Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (Trilateral Committee) has made a continuing commitment to support the conservation of monarch butterflies. The Trilateral Committee will address the challenges and dedicate discussions to the preservation of this species in May 2014. View the joint statement here. Learn more about the Trilateral Committee here. Learn more about the Service’s efforts to conserve Monarch butterflies with our partners in Mexico here. Photo credit: USFWS
May 6, 2014 - The Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking will convene a third public meeting to consider recommendations for the Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking, discuss administrative topics, and hear public comments. The meeting will be held on Monday, June 9, 2014, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). For more information on participating in the meeting, or submitting questions or comments, please read the Federal Register notice.
May 8, 2014 - Teiko Saito was honored by the Department of Interior with a Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to Department of the Interior (DOI) employees who have made outstanding contributions during an eminent career at DOI or an exceptional contribution to public service. From 1980-2013, Teiko Saito served in a variety of positions in a number of Service programs including the Director's Office, Refuges, Endangered Species, External Affairs, Human Resources, and International Affairs. In 2009 she was appointed Assistant Director of International Affairs and she held this position until her retirement in 2013.
April 2, 2014 - The President has notified Congress of actions he directed federal departments and agencies to take to encourage Iceland to cease international trade in whale meat and products. The instructions come in response to a certification issued by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that Iceland's international trade is diminishing the effectiveness of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Click here for the press release.
March 20, 2014 - On March 20, 2014, Advisory Council members met to present recommendations on the implementation of the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking and to receive public comment regarding the National Strategy. Following discussion among Advisory Council members on the four major subcommittee areas, legal frameworks/reform, enforcement, communication/advocacy, and public/private partnerships, the Council listened to comments from the public. These included members of the antique and auction communities, museum curators, artists and musicians, representatives from non-government organizations, university students and other concerned members of the public. The next public meeting is scheduled for June, 2014. Click here for a video and here for photos of the event.
March 19, 2014 - The Service published a final rule, effective immediately, which excludes U.S. captive-bred animals and sport-hunted trophies of the scimitar-horned oryx, addax and dama gazelle from permitting requirements as long as certain conditions are met. Click here for more information.
March 4, 2014 - With support from USFWS Wildlife Without Borders and in partnership with WildAid, Yao Ming delivered a petition to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) asking that China’s government ban the sale of ivory. Yao Ming has been an active leader and vocal critic against ivory sales in America and abroad. For more information on the petition click here.
February 26, 2014 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a Director’s Order tightening controls on the trade of elephant ivory and other products made from protected species. The Order represents the first in a series of administrative actions to further restrict commercialization of elephant ivory as called for in the National Strategy on Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Click here to read more.
February 21, 2014 - USFWS commends President Idriss Déby and the government of the Republic of Chad for destroying approximately one ton of confiscated ivory today as part of the 50 year anniversary celebration of Zakouma National Park. USFWS has been a proud supporter of conservation efforts in Zakouma National Park since 1999. We are encouraged by recent success in halting poaching in this important protected area, managed in partnership between African Parks and the government of Chad, which is considered one of the last strongholds for wildlife in Central Africa. Read the Director's Statement here.
February 12, 2014 - Congratulations to Dr. Rosemarie Gnam, Chief of the Division of Scientific Authority, for receiving Honorable Mention for Science Leadership in the 2013 Fish & Wildlife Service's Science Awards. This prestigious honor is awarded to Service employees whose exemplary practice and support of scientific activities improve the Service’s knowledge and management of fish and wildlife resources. Dr. Gnam's work and leadership have been demonstrated both domestically and internationally in the protection of many species including sharks, red and pink corals, Bluefin tuna, paddlefish, tortoises and freshwater turtles, polar bears, and American ginseng. Learn more about Dr. Gnam's work. FWS photo credit: Frank Kohn.
February 11, 2014 - Following the release by the White House of the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, USFWS announced plans to initiate a commercial ivory ban. Through a series of administrative actions, virtually all commercial trade in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn in the United States will stop. Read the press release, visit our Wildlife Trafficking page, and check out Q&As to learn more.
February 10, 2014 - International Affairs is saddened to hear about the passing of Shirley Temple Black. Best known for her work as a child star in Hollywood during the 1930s, Temple later left show business and began a noted career in politics, diplomacy and conservation. She was a high-profile voice for conservation who helped create the framework for cooperation with Russia under which we still work today. In 1973 she was present at the signing of a foundational agreement between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. on environmental protection. Read her words from this meeting where she spoke about the need for international cooperation in order to save the world’s endangered species. (Photo Credit: Walter Lang, 20th Century Fox)
February 6, 2014 - The Service applauds France for destroying today 3-tons of illegal ivory seized by French customs and law enforcement officials between 1987 and 2007. France now joins the United States, Kenya, the Philippines, Gabon and the People's Republic of China in this public commitment to ending the illegal trade in ivory that is threatening to wipe out African elephant populations. Global momentum is building within the international community to fight global wildlife trafficking and save the world’s most threatened species. Read the Director's Statement here.
February 2, 2014 - World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on February 2 to promote the global appreciation and protection of wetlands. It marks the anniversary of the 1971 signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in Ramsar, Iran. The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2014 is Wetlands and Agriculture: Partners in Growth. There are 35 “Ramsar sites” in the United States. Click here to read more.
January 29, 2014 - Governments, academics, non-government organizations and private stakeholders are collaborating to help save the world's most endangered group of lizards--Caribbean island iguanas. This region-wide effort stemmed from a workshop held in Puerto Rico this past December which brought together 61 participants from 16 nations to identify the most critical issues facing these imperiled species. Click here to learn more. Photo: Ricord's iguana, courtesy of Island Conservation. Caption: Through the Critically Endangered Animals Conservation fund, we're supporting a conservation project for the Ricord's iguana to remove three invasive species--feral cats, donkeys, and cattle-- a primary threat to iguanas.
January 6, 2014 - The Service commends the government of the People's Republic of China for destroying more than six tons of illegal elephant ivory in the city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. China today joins the United States, Kenya, Gabon and the Philippines, which have destroyed their illegal ivory, in this fight to save African elephants from poachers and the illegal ivory trade. France also plans to destroy its illegal elephant ivory this year. Click here for more information. Click here to read the Director's Statement.
January, 2014 - USFWS Wildlife Without Borders - Western Hemisphere program has partnered with Mexico’s National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature, A.C. to develop a program for park rangers to gain training and expertise in critical protected area management issues. The Managing for Excellence signature initiative has trained an impressive 200 park rangers during its first year of activities while improving the management of 106 natural protected areas vital for the conservation of wildlife in Mexico. Click here to learn more about the Services' work in Mexico. Click here to view video testimonials in Spanish.
January, 2014 - The Dallas Safari Club at their annual Convention being held from January 9-12 plans to auction a special hunting permit to take a black rhino . The hunting permit will be issued by the Government of the Republic of Namibia with all proceeds earmarked for rhino conservation in that country. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not received an application to allow for the importation of a black rhino trophy associated with the Dallas Safari Club auction. Click here for the full USFWS statement.
December 19, 2013 - The Save Vanishing Species semipostal stamp continues to provide vital support for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to fight global wildlife trafficking and poaching. Millions of Americans have purchased these stamps online and at their local post offices in the past two years, generating more than $2.5 million that has been used in Africa, Asia and Latin America to benefit elephants, rhinoceros, tigers and other rapidly declining wildlife species. Click here to read the press release. Click here to see the 2012-2013 stamp grants.
December 4, 2013 - Representatives of the polar bear range states – United States, Canada, Denmark/Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation – convened in Moscow on December 4 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1973 Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Representatives responsible for polar bear policy, research, and management recognized the significant contributions over the past four decades to polar bear conservation throughout the species’ Arctic range. Click here to read the full article.
December 3, 2013 - A Caribbean Iguana Conservation Workshop is being held from December 3-5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During this 3-day workshop, USFWS officials will meet with Caribbean government representatives, species experts, conservationists, and academics to explore a region-wide approach to iguana conservation. This workshop provides an opportunity to raise the profile of iguanas and expand the work of the Caribbean Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CLCC), a partnership among research and management agencies, organizations and individuals who are interested in achieving a sustainable future for the Caribbean islands and their wildlife and ecosystems. To learn more about the CLCC, visit http://caribbeanlcc.org/ Photo ©Glenn Gerber
November 27, 2013 - More than 1,000 acres of dry forests essential to the survival of the critically endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey (Saguinus oedipus) have been declared a protected area by the Regional Environmental Authority in Colombia (CARDIQUE).USFWS grantee Fundacion Proyecto Tití played a critical role in the designation of the Parque Natural Regional Bosque SecoEl Ceibal-Mono Tití . The grantee has worked to promote Cotton Top Tamarin conservation while increasing sustainable economic activities for rural communities and reducing dependence on income from the illegal pet trade. Learn more about the park in Spanish. Learn more about the Service's work in Latin America.
October, 2013 - Plans to crush approximately six tons of elephant ivory seized over the years as a result of Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) criminal investigations and port inspections have been postponed due to the government shutdown. The ivory was scheduled to be destroyed on October 8 at OLE's National Wildlife Property Repository outside of Denver, Colorado. The USFWS intends to reschedule the event and will update this page when a date is selected. Click here to learn why the U.S. is taking this action.
September 30, 2013 - The U.S. CITES Authorities have completed a report summarizing major U.S. legislative, administrative, and regulatory actions taken from 2011-2012 to implement and enforce the provisions of CITES. The report features highlights from major law enforcement cases and criminal prosecutions, U.S. participation in working groups and CITES Committees, and other proactive measures taken to increase compliance and enforcement. Click here to read the full report.
September 20, 2013 - Today marks the second anniversary of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp. In two years, over 23.4 million stamps have been sold raising $2,382,000 for the Service'sWildlife Without Borders’ international conservation funds. The funds raised are being used to help save tigers, elephants, rhinos, great apes, and marine turtles. USFWS is teaming with the Detroit Tigers and ad agency BBDO to promote the Tiger Stamp and raise awareness of critical conservation efforts. The stamp is available at Tigerstamp.com. Learn more about the projects supported by stamp funding: http://1.usa.gov/159n5Rg
September 10, 2013 - The Service will take immediate action to protect the southern white rhinoceros under the Endangered Species Act in response to the poaching crisis decimating rhino populations worldwide. By extending ESA protection to the white rhino–the last remaining unprotected species of rhinoceros–the Service closes a loophole that has been exploited by poachers and traffickers seeking to cash in on global demand for rhino horn. Click here to learn more.
September 9, 2013 - Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has named members of a federal advisory council on wildlife trafficking during a White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. Jewell also announced Service plans to crush and destroy approximately six tons of elephant ivory seized by its special agents and wildlife inspectors for violations of U.S. wildlife laws. Click here to learn more about the Advisory Council and its members.
September, 2013 - In partnership with PROBEA, the USFWS is supporting a project to build the capacity of citizens in Mexico to conserve the region’s natural resources through education. Currently, more than 11,000 students representing fourteen schools from all five municipalities in Baja California are committed to completing the program. Click here to learn more about the PROBEA project.
September, 2013 - The city of Merida hosted the workshop “Building the Capacity of Natural Protected Areas Managers and Enforcement Officials to Protect Biodiversity in Yucatan Peninsula” (August 20th to 23rd), implemented by WWB-Mexico in partnership with the Environmental Law Institute. A total of 103 employees from the office of the General Attorney for Environmental Protection and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas attended the event. The workshop enhanced participants’ understanding of Mexico’s new legal and institutional framework and their effect on natural protected areas (NPAs) protection; the latest advances in environmental law interpretation and application nationally and internationally; the proper prosecution of environmental crimes in NPAs; importance of evidence collection; valuation of scientific evidence; and an analysis of the most emblematic cases of NPAs crimes. Click here to learn more about the Wildlife Without Borders-Mexico Program.
August 28, 2013 - In a pre-game ceremony on August 27th , the Detroit Tigers presented a $10,000 check to the Service's Wildlife Without Borders program. The Tigers’ Pennies for Paws program has raised more than $53,000 for tiger conservation since 2008. The Tigers also support the Save Vanishing Species Stamp, a special first-class stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service, which has generated more than $2.3 million for conservation to date. http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/det/community/savethetigers.jsp
July 8, 2013 - USFWS’ Richard Ruggiero appeared today on NPR Baltimore’s Midday Show with Dan Rodricks to discuss the poaching crisis facing elephants in Africa. The broadcast explores the need for increased law enforcement efforts and demand reduction to address the issue. Listen to the entire broadcast at: http://bit.ly/1m56hr5
July 1, 2013 - The Service has received top honors in the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 10th Annual International Innovations in Diversity Awards competition for its innovative conservation work with communities in Africa and Latin America. The awards recognize organizations and institutions that develop creative solutions in the area of workforce diversity and inclusion. The winning organizations are highlighted in the July/August 2013 issue of the Diversity Journal.
June, 2013 - On Wednesday, June 5th, as part of the Government of Mexico’s World Environment Day celebrations, USFWS - Wildlife Without Borders partner "Union de Sociedades Cooperativas de la Red de los Humedales de la Costa de Oaxaca" (Network of Coastal Wetlands of Oaxaca), was presented with the National Ecological Merit Award by Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT). This year marks the 20th Anniversary of this prestigious Award, which recognizes outstanding efforts to advance conservation through research, social organization, and environmental education.
May 15, 2013- Nominations are now open for the prestigious Alexander F. Skutch Medal for Excellence in Neotropical Ornithology. Please send an e-mail or letter to Herb Raffaele, addressing the candidate's contributions to Neotropical ornithology. English or Spanish
May 8, 2013 - Representatives from the Detroit Zoological Society, U.S. Postal Service (USPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders (WWB) program, and the Detroit Tigers organization conducted a ceremony Friday at the Detroit Zoo to commemorate the release of the stamp and highlight the cachets available for collectors. Click here to read the full article.
May 7, 2013 - Representatives from the Detroit Tigers baseball club and BBDO joined U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and Members of Congress and international conservation supporters today on Capitol Hill to celebrate the success of the “Save Vanishing Species” semipostal stamp. Sales of the stamp, which sells at a premium over first class stamps, have generated more than $2.1 million to support on-the-ground conservation of species like the wild tiger since the stamp went on sale in September, 2011. To date 33 conservation projects in 23 countries have been funded with $1.1 million of the stamp proceeds. Click here to read full article. You can also read the Detroit Tiger's press release here.
May, 2013 - CITES CoP16 had significant outcomes for the conservation of turtles, timber, marine species, elephants, rhinos, and a number of other animal and plant species. Changes in species listings and other results of this meeting will go into effect on June 12, 2013. If you are an importer/exporter of timber or reptiles, a musician traveling abroad with your musical instrument, or if you desire to be an informed consumer, please review our implementation page to ensure that you are complying with all CITES requirements.
April 16, 2013 - The Detroit Tigers began their partnership last year with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program of the Division of International Conservation. The team presented a $25,000 check to Wildlife Without Borders last September at a ceremony at Comerica Park, which added to grants the organization received from people throughout the world. Click here to read the full article.
April 15, 2013 - Viewers who tuned in to ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, PBS’s highest-rated on-going series, on April 15 may have been surprised to see an interview with the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, to discuss the history of the rhino crisis and how it relates to the antiques trade. Check out the factsheet, "Can I Sell It? A Guide to Wildlife and Plant Protection Laws". You can also watch the episode or view the extended interview. (Photo: Chinese rhinoceros horn cup, Credit: Antiques Roadshow)
March 28, 2013 - On March 28, 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife issued a permit for the importation of a sport- hunted black rhinoceros trophy taken in Namibia in 2009. The Service granted this permit after an extensive review of Namibia’s black rhino conservation program, in recognition of the role that well-managed, limited sport hunting plays in contributing to the long-term survival and recovery of the black rhino in Namibia. Click here to learn more.
March 11, 2013 - CoP16 is ending soon on March 14 and you can stay up to date on the progress made thus far. To read the Service's press release about increased protections for sharks and manta rays, click here. To read our press release on the many species of freshwater turtles now protected under CITES, click here. Unfortunately, the U.S. proposal to increase protections for polar bears was defeated, failing to receive a majority vote. You can read the Service's press release on the polar bear proposal here. And to stay up to date on the happenings of CoP16, be sure to visit our CoP16 page!
March, 2013 - Before3 CoP16 began, we heard from thousands of people across the country on our proposals, including kids! Our office received a wonderful collection of artwork from school children in Maryland passionate about elephant conservation. The collection featured poems, drawings and prints. Visit our Flickr page to view the pieces and see their important message for conservation.
February 28, 2013 - The Service published a Federal Register Notice today announcing tentative U.S. negotiating positions on species proposals, draft resolutions and decisions, and agenda items submitted by other countries and the CITES Secretariat for consideration at the Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties (CoP16) to CITES. Click here to read the notice. And be sure to visit the CoP16 website to learn more about U.S. proposals and check out the media page to stay up to date on the progress made at CoP16, beginning March 3rd.
February 27, 2013 - “Battle for the Elephants,” a groundbreaking special by @NatGeo, explores the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory. The program airs Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.
Winter, 2013 - In celebration of the 40th Anniverary of CITES and the upcoming Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP16), FWS News, the quarterly newsletter of USFWS, has released a special section in their recent issue highlighting the importance of CITES and its rich history. Visit the Articles page to read the stories, and visit the CoP16 page to learn what the U.S. is doing in preparation for CoP16.
December 11, 2012 - An October 2012 census shows that the population of Cao Vit gibbons has risen to 129 individuals from the 110 counted in 2007. This survey was funded by a 2011 Wildlife Without Borders grant of $53,404.00 to Fauna and Flora International (FFI) to conduct a trans boundary census and a review of the management plans to protect the radiant Cao Vit gibbon. Read article.