Wildlife Weekly Wrap-Up: 10/13/17

Your weekly roundup of wildlife news from across the country

Little Green Heron in Florida by Randy Traynor
Osprey in Florida by Randy Traynor
Roseate Spoonbill in Florida by Randy Traynor


Last year, Defenders of Wildlife worked with partner organizations to advocate for the control of trade of silky and thresher sharks under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). After a lot of hard work and many in-depth discussions, both species are now listed under Appendix II of CITES and as of October 4th, international trade of these species is regulated! This is extremely important for the protection of these species which are severely threatened by the shark fin trade as well as other attacks on the fragile ocean ecosystem. The listing of these shark species is a great step toward more productive shark conservation and it shows that CITES members care deeply about our finned friends!


In Colorado:

On a beautiful fall morning, Defenders volunteers partnered with Boulder County Parks and Open Space to remove a non-functioning, barbed wire fence from an important elk migration corridor along Highway 36 near Lyons, Colorado. Boulder County and the adjoining landowners will replace the fence with one that is more wildlife friendly. We also built an “elk jump” within the fence, which are sections where wildlife can easily jump over the fence without the risk of getting tangled in wire.


In Florida:

Mike Adams, Senior Florida Representative is doing his part to connect the youth in his community with nature and wildlife conservation through his William Bartram education reenactments. Last month, Mike was involved in the “Bartram Frolic” a weeklong event in Palatka, Florida strategically located along the St. Johns River (background in photo) in Northeast Florida. He provides a natural history presentation portraying 1774 colonial naturalist William Bartram, artist, scientist, author and historian, who explored this region and the Southeast colonies. He presents information about wildlife that inhabited the Florida territory in the 1700s including manatee, gopher tortoise, red wolf, ivory-billed woodpecker, whooping crane, and even bison. This is a wonderful community outreach platform and opportunity to impress upon our youth the importance of natural resource conservation for future generations.

In Wyoming:

Wildlife conservation is not always sexy work! Defenders is hard at work on the ground finding solutions for ongoing conflict over prairie dog management at Thunder Basin National Grassland. Both prairie dogs and cattle rely on this land, which makes the task of finding agreement among diverse interests tricky. Unfortunately for the prairie dogs, the Forest Service is considering altering the current plan by decreasing the area of protected prairie dog habitat. This change would harm plans to reintroduce the endangered black-footed ferret in the future. Prairie dogs are the keystone species of this vast prairie sea in northeast Wyoming, and burrowing owl, mountain plover, swift fox, ferruginous hawk and black-footed ferret rely on the prairie dog’s abundance. Defenders is participating as a stakeholder in a working group that is dedicated to improving and maximizing the benefit of the management strategy. We are also working closely with ranchers to look at new methods for coexistence with prairie dogs on this important landscape. We will continue to work toward a future that includes abundant wildlife on our public lands.


The bald eagle is more than just a symbol of our nation; its return to the skies is proof that the Endangered Species Act is one of our most effective wildlife protection laws. The ESA is the last line of defense for many imperiled species, and yet members of Congress are disregarding science and proposing bills to slash the Act. Take action to help stop extinction!

We helped fund research to survey freshwater rays in South America and found 4 new species!

The Refuge Improvement Act put wildlife first on national wildlife refuges in 1997, a precept that had never before been codified in law. Yesterday, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, and we are fighting to preserve both the law and our system of wildlife refuges.

The Trump administration quietly withdrew 42 actions on endangered species late last week.

Defenders and its conservation allies are taking action to protect the North Atlantic right whale from further unsustainable losses. We have just sent National Marine Fisheries Service a 60-day notice of our intent to sue under the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act as right whales continue to be seriously injured or killed through entanglements in vertical lines. The situation is dire, but we will do everything in our power to halt and reverse the right whale’s slide toward extinction.

Cory Booker is a Defender to the core as he champions the Endangered Species Act & protections for wildlife species.

“Rep. Bishop and the bill’s cosponsors want to dismantle the Antiquities Act, a major conservation tool that led to the establishment of nearly half of our national parks. H.R. 3990 would block the designation of future monuments, sabotage wildlife connectivity and open the door for the oil and gas industry to ravage sensitive public lands and waters. Monuments provide vital habitat and climate refugia for thousands of species of fish, wildlife and plants, including hundreds protected under the Endangered Species Act. Congress should stop this bill in its tracks.” – Jamie Rappaport Clark, president & CEO of Defenders of Wildlife.