National Wildlife Refuges

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The National Wildlife Refuge System is the largest land and water system in the world dedicated to wildlife conservation. 

It includes over 560 refuges and approximately 150 million acres. The system protects more than 380 threatened or endangered plants and animals, and provides habitat to thousands more.  Refuges host more than 47 million visitors a year, generating $1.7 billion and creating 27,000 jobs in local economies.

Despite its crucial role as an anchor for America’s wildlife conservation, outdoor recreation opportunities and economic activity, the Refuge System has long been plagued by chronic and severe funding shortfalls and numerous legislative attacks on both individual refuges like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Izembek Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the system as a whole.

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In the Magazine
Big Cypress teems with wildlife and is a refuge for the critically endangered Florida panther. But the roads here make it a dangerous place for the big cats, with vehicle collisions one of the leading causes of death.
Defenders of Wildlife’s Government Relations and External Affairs department coordinates the organization’s work on a broad range of federal legislation of critical importance to wildlife.