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Information iconA rare black-footed ferret hunts a prairie dog, National Ferret Conservation Center, Colorado. (Kimberly Fraser/USFWS)

Many of America’s rarest wildlife species — including ocelots, whooping cranes, Atlantic sturgeon and Hawksbill sea turtles — depend on national wildlife refuges for survival.

A refuge’s protected lands and waters often provide ideal feeding and nesting conditions for a rare species. Refuge staff work to improve those conditions by recovering habitat and controlling invasive species that may compete for space and resources.

Many of the more than 560 national wildlife refuges were established primarily to provide habitat for species designated as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

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Learn more about threatened and endangered species. Use the link to check the status and geographic location of an individual animal or plant species.

Some refuges established as habitat for rare species:

Recovery Success Stories
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Information iconLeatherback sea turtle, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Virgin Islands. (Photo: Claudia Lombard/USFWS)