International Wildlife Trade
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Wildlife Trade program is responsible for coordinating U.S. efforts related to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), including preparing documents and developing U.S. negotiating positions for meetings of the CITES Conference of the Parties and committees, and implementing the results of these meetings.
USFWS Celebrates the Success of the "Save the Vanishing Species" Stamp
More than 25.5 million stamps have been purchased in the United States by the public online and at their local post offices over the past two years, generating more than $2.5 million to support wildlife conservation initiatives worldwide. (read more)
This money has been used to support 47 projects in 31 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to conserve elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, marine turtles, and great apes. These funds have been leveraged by an additional $3.6 million in matching contributions – making the stamp a key part of the United States’ response to protecting wildlife and addressing the ongoing worldwide epidemic of poaching and wildlife trafficking. Sales of the Save Vanishing Species Stamp were stopped on December 31, 2013 and the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking recommends reauthorization for the stamp. (read less)
Learn more about the stamp.
President Obama Signs Executive Order on Combating Wildlife Trafficking
On July 1, 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order (E.O.) emphasizing the United States’ commitment to fighting illegal wildlife trade and elevating an issue that we care deeply about to the highest levels of government. (read more)
The E.O. enhances coordination of U.S. efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and assists other nations in tackling this issue by providing capacity building and on-the-ground support. The E.O. also established a Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking charged with developing a National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and an Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking with representation from the private sector, former government officials, non-governmental organizations, and other experts on wildlife trade. (read less)
Learn more about the Executive Order.
Wildlife Without Borders Building Conservation Leaders Through Grant Programs
In 2013, the EAGLE network, based in Cameroon, was founded to coordinate and strengthen the activities of law enforcement groups fighting wildlife crime. Operating in six countries, the EAGLE network has brought about more than 900 arrests, prosecutions and imprisonments of wildlife traffickers. It has been instrumental in clamping down on criminal syndicates in Central and West Africa. USFWS has provided vital support to some of these law enforcement groups since their inception. We’re excited to see their important work continue in 2014.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Supports First Major Assessment of Asian Snakes
and regulation of turtle harvest, conservation and monitoring of turtle populations, and law enforcement to ensure that illegal harvest and trade are controlled. The International Wildlife Trade program will continue to work with the State wildlife agencies and others to ensure that these recommendations are implemented and that the conservation of our native turtles is secured. (read less)
On June 19th, 2012, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added 384 Asian snake species to its Red List of Threatened Species, the most comprehensive information source on the status of plant and animal species worldwide. An IUCN listing is a critical first step towards conserving a species and developing effective, long-term management tools. These new listings were a direct result of a partnership between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and IUCN. (read more)
In August of 2011, a workshop, funded by the Service’s International Wildlife Trade Program, brought together snake experts from around the world to assess the status of hundreds of Asian snakes, many of which had rarely been studied in the past. This workshop filled an important gap in reptile conservation considering that many of these species are traded in large numbers but little is known about their status in the wild. The workshop also marked the first-ever joint document submission to CITES between the United States and China. (read less)
To learn more read the Service’s press release.
Division of Scientific Authority Conducts Nautilus Research and Initiates Youth Action
The chambered nautilus is found in the waters of Southeast Asia and Australia. Just how many of them are in existence, however, is uncertain. Because of how little is known about this mollusk, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service with the National Marine Fisheries Service, is conducting research to better understand the nautilus' status in the wild and the effects that increased harvesting are having on the species. Part of this research was presented at a meeting in Dijon, France on cephalopods. (read more)
After reading about this conservation meeting and ongoing research on the chambered nautilus, 10-year-old Josiah Utsch decided to help the cause. The chambered nautilus is Josiah’s favorite animal and in an effort to save it, he created a website and nonprofit to raise funds for further research and conservation efforts. Shortly after his extraordinary efforts, TIME for Kids featured a story about Josiah and his nonprofit. The Service commends Josiah’s efforts and encourages all children to take an interest in the world’s incredible biodiversity and conservation work. (read less)
Conservation of Cameroon’s Caecilian Amphibians
Cameroon is home to several rare amphibian species, some of which have been studied, while others have been completely overlooked. As a result, the extinction status of most of these species is still unknown. However, what scientists and conservationists do know is that cultivation and the clearing of forest for agriculture are destroying the natural habitat for these amphibians.(read more)
A Cameroon caecilian census is greatly needed in order to implement applicable and effective conservation practices to protect these important species.
In the past decade, techniques have been developed by researchers to survey caecilians by utilizing a combination of local farmers’ knowledge and dedicated digging surveys by field staff. However, these methods are not sufficient to uncover essential knowledge about these caecilians, such as aspects of reproduction, ecology, and biology. “We firmly believe that Cameroon is the ideal place to undertake the first wide-ranging (in terms of geography and taxonomic diversity), concerted project to try and remove caecilians from the ‘data deficient’ categorization,” said Dr. David Gower, a researcher in the department of Zoology at the Natural History Museum in London. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Without Borders – Amphibians in Decline Conservation Fund is offering support to researchers to conduct a complete census of these caecilians in Cameroon in order to identify the most essential conservation efforts, especially regarding habitat restoration in order to protect these fragile species.
Learn more about the Amphibians in Decline program
Mr. Burns Beaked Toad - No. 1 New Species in 2010, Discovered with Support from USFWS
Whilst on a search for “lost amphibians” species in the Choco rainforests of Western Colombia, scientists surprisingly discovered a new toad species that is highly unusual to say the least. Not only is this amphibian merely 0.7 inches long, this toad also has an unorthodox reproductive cycle: Most toads start off as eggs, then grow into tadpoles, and then become adults. (read more)
The genus Rhinella, also known as Mr. Burns, however, somehow skips the tadpole stage completely. After the eggs are laid, they hatch into full-grown toadlets, a phenomenon that baffled scientists. “Its long pointy snout reminds me off Mr. Burns from The Simpsons television series,” explained Robin Moore, the expedition leader that found the new species. The group is one of the entities of Conservation International, a group dedicated to conserving and discovering new species, in an effort “to ensure a healthy and productive planet for us all.”
The Wildlife Without Borders Amphibians In Decline program is an initiative put in place by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conserve endangered amphibians around the world. Mr. Burns discovery was funded through a grant given by this fund. However, this is only one of the many programs funded by the Amphibians In Decline program: In 2011, the USFWS awarded over $700,000 to conservationists in the US, Panama, Kenya, South Africa, India, and Costa Rica, to help them find cures for diseases that are killing amphibians and for research on methods to prevent their extinction. There are a number of amphibians that are vanishing from the face of the earth. It is funds like this that help us conserve and also find new species of amphibians.
Learn more about the Amphibians in Decline program.