Law Enforcement


Law enforcement (LE) is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. Refuge Law Enforcement not only plays a big role in protecting wildlife, but also works to promote awareness of wildlife laws and protection through collaboration with refuge Visitor Services staff.

USFWS Law Enforcement's mission is to protect wildlife resources. Through the effective enforcement of Federal laws, Law Enforcement (LE) contribute to Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to recover endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, safeguard fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation. Service LE focus on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources – illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental hazards.
LE objectives are to:

  • Uncover major commercial activity involving illegal trade of protected wildlife and wildlife products; 
  • Protect domestic and foreign wildlife species that enter into interstate and international commerce that are protected by treaty or otherwise under Federal jurisdiction; and, 
  • Enhance legitimate use and enjoyment of migratory birds and other wildlife. 

LE priorities include:

  • Investigating wildlife crimes on wild populations of federally protected species, with emphasis on commercial exploitation and/or habitat destruction and modification; 
  • Investigating wildlife crimes on wild populations of species protected by state or foreign laws, with emphasis on interstate and foreign commercial exploitation; 
  • Providing support and assistance to refuge enforcement activities on Service lands and to other Federal agencies on lands they manage; 
  • Inspecting import or export wildlife shipments, containing federally protected species; special emphasis on commercial exploitation, CITES Appendix I, II, or III species, threatened or endangered species, and species protected by state or foreign law, including species indigenous to the United States; and, 
  • Promoting awareness of, and support for, Federal wildlife laws and the role of law enforcement in protecting our wildlife resources and heritage.