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A small lizard with a bright blue tail and brown/black striped body on sandy leaf litter.
Information icon St. Croix ground lizard, (Ameiva polops). Photo by Jan Zegarra, USFWS.

News

  • A massive hurricane threatens Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
    Hurricane Irma mid-day on September 6, 2017 off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Satellite Image by NOAA GOES-16.

    Hurricane Irma: How we are responding

    September 7, 2017 | 4 minute read

    Hurricane Irma, the second most powerful Atlantic basin hurricane in recorded history, has killed at least nine people in the Caribbean region, and is projected to be heading for Florida and the southeastern United States soon. “Our priority is the safety of our employees, making sure they are safe and then back to work as soon as personal priorities are taken care of,” said David Viker, acting deputy regional director of the Service’s Southeast Region, which is directly in Irma’s path.  Read the full story...

  • A biologist looks out at the destruction and fallen vegetation outside the gate of the aviary.
    Information icon Looking out at Aviary gate towards the facility entrance. Photo by USFWS.

    Irma hits Puerto Rico, Service facilities

    September 7, 2017 | 4 minute read

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean may have missed the worst of Hurricane Irma, but the killer storm is headed straight for Florida and its bounty of endangered species and pristine refuges. After rampaging through the eastern Caribbean, Irma steered just north of Puerto Rico. She nonetheless dumped 2 to 8 inches of rain across the island and knocked out power to more than 1 million people.  Read the full story...

  • Owner of Arecibo aquarium business pleads guilty to two federal Lacey Act felonies for illicit trafficking of protected corals

    August 23, 2017 | 4 minute read

    Aristides Sanchez, a resident of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, pleaded guilty today to two felony violations of the federal Lacey Act for collecting, purchasing, falsely labeling, and shipping protected marine invertebrate species as part of an effort to subvert Puerto Rican law designed to protect corals and other reef species, the Department of Justice announced. Sanchez was the owner of the Arecibo-based saltwater aquarium business, Wonders of the Reef Aquarium. A large part of the business was devoted to the sale of native Puerto Rican marine species that are popular in the saltwater aquarium trade.  Read the full story...

  • A tall rocky island emerging from a calm blue sea.
    Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. Photo © Claudio Uribe, Island Conservation. Used with permission: S://EA/Photo Permissions/desecheo-island-conservation.pdf.

    Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge safe from invasive mammals after nearly 100 years

    June 27, 2017 | 6 minute read

    Lea en español. After more than a decade of conservation intervention, Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is once again safe for the threatened higo chumbo cactus, native seabirds, and unique lizards found nowhere else in the world. Just one year after an ambitious operation to rid Desecheo NWR of introduced rats, conservation biologists have confirmed that these damaging predators are absent from the island, and the operation was a success.  Read the full story...

  • Four manatees and a school of fish assemble under crystal clear water.
    Information icon Manatees at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Photo by David Hinkel.

    Manatee reclassified from endangered to threatened as habitat improves and population expands - existing federal protections remain in place

    March 30, 2017 | 4 minute read

    Read the release in Spanish. On the heels of Manatee Appreciation Day, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the downlisting of the West Indian manatee from endangered to threatened. Notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat allowed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change the species’ status under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The downlisting comes after diverse conservation efforts and collaborations by Florida and other manatee states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Caribbean nations, public and private organizations and citizens, there have been notable increases in manatee populations and improvements in its habitat.  Read the full story...

  • A close up photo of a semi translucent gray-silver crayfish walking on rocky substrate.
    Angular dwarf crayfish. Photo by Chris Lukhaup, USDA Forest Service.

    Endangered Species Act protection not needed for four Southeastern animals

    September 20, 2016 | 4 minute read

    Responding to requests to add them to the federal threatened and endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that the angular dwarf crayfish, Icebox Cave beetle, Clifton Cave beetle, and the Virgin Island coqui do not need such protection. “To receive Endangered Species Act protection, the species must be facing threats that would likely cause extinction or threaten existence in the foreseeable future,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director.  Read the full story...

  • A black salamander with gray spots.
    Fourche Mountain salamander. Photo by John Clare, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

    Fish and Wildlife Service to gather more information on two rare reptiles in the Southeast

    September 13, 2016 | 3 minute read

    A Caribbean skink and a Florida lizard need more study to determine whether they need to be included on the federal list of endangered and threatened species. More scientific and commercial information will be compiled for the Lesser Virgin Islands skink found in and around St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands as well as the Florida scrub lizard found in central and south Florida. The U.  Read the full story...

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