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Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

fish and wildlife service

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
FWS biologist Susan Wynn releases an endangered butterfly in San Diego County in 2016. Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS

By Taryn MacKinney

First, the bad news: An analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists reveals that federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) have lost hundreds of scientists since 2017. The good news: With the Biden administration already acting on its pledge to lead with science, a new day has dawned, and it's time to get to work.

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waterlust.com / @tulasendlesssummer_sierra .

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

The bright patterns and recognizable designs of Waterlust's activewear aren't just for show. In fact, they're meant to promote the conversation around sustainability and give back to the ocean science and conservation community.

Each design is paired with a research lab, nonprofit, or education organization that has high intellectual merit and the potential to move the needle in its respective field. For each product sold, Waterlust donates 10% of profits to these conservation partners.

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A young male monk seal was rescued in the reefs of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Monk seals are listed as an endangered species. Koa Matsuoka / NMFS

Senate Republicans will hold a hearing Wednesday to begin attempting to gut and repeal the Endangered Species Act. This is the first hearing on the act to be chaired by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo), who has voted against the Endangered Species Act and protecting endangered species at every opportunity since 2011.

"The clear intent of this hearing is to begin the process of gutting the Endangered Species Act," said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Senator Barrasso's callous attack on this crucial environmental law is totally out of step with the strong majority of Americans who support the Endangered Species Act. Without the Act we wouldn't have bald eagles, grizzly bears or many other wildlife species we all cherish."

The Endangered Species Act has saved more than 99 percent of species under its protection from extinction and put hundreds more on the road to recovery. Scientists estimate that without the act, 227 species would have gone extinct by 2006.

The act's impressive track record of success is even more remarkable given that Congress only provides approximately 3.5 percent of the funding that the Fish and Wildlife Service's own scientists estimate is needed to recover these species. Meanwhile Sen. Barrasso's war chest has been enriched by the oil and gas industry to the tune of $1.72 million since 2012.

"With 1 in 4 endangered species receiving less than $10,000 a year toward their recovery, the Endangered Species Act needs more funding, not baseless attacks from Senate Republicans," said Hartl. "Oil companies may be keen to gut and repeal this vital protection for imperiled wildlife, but the American people don't want our nation's most effective conservation law shredded to profit the petroleum industry."

Since Republicans retook the House of Representatives in January 2011, they have launched more than 230 legislative attacks on endangered species. In just the past two years, congressional Republicans have introduced more than 133 separate pieces of legislation and amendments designed to eliminate protections for endangered species or weaken the act itself. Most recently Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, admitted to the public that his goal was to invalidate the Endangered Species Act in its entirety.

Two in three Americans want the Endangered Species Act strengthened or left alone, according to a 2013 poll.

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Earthjustice

by Doug Honnold

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed to remove wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list. This deadly proposal would allow unlimited, shoot-on-sight killing of wolves in nearly 90 percent of the state.

Under intense political pressure from Wyoming state officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cut a deal that would hand wolf management over to the state, allowing politics—not science—to decide the fate of wolves in the region.

Independent scientists say that 2,000 to 3,000 wolves are needed for a sustainable, fully recovered population. But at the end of last year, only an estimated 1,650 wolves were living in the Northern Rockies—with just 343 wolves in Wyoming.

The federal government has spent 16 years and millions of dollars to restore wolves to the West. This proposal combined with the recent congressional delisting and hunting of wolves in Idaho and Montana threatens their very survival. Help us fight back against this deadly proposal.

Take action and speak out for strong wolf protections and a plan that supports a full recovery for the species. Urge U.S. Fish and Wildlife to save Wyoming’s remaining wolves and oppose any plan that allows politics to decide the fate of an imperiled species.

For more information, click here.

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