Defenders Magazine

Winter 2014

Volume 89, Issue 1

Feature

Florida Panther (captive), © Joel Sartore

Flash back to the 1890s in Nebraska’s Platte River Valley. The man doesn’t look like much. He’s barely five feet tall, in his 20’s and of modest means. He’s had a big day though, and so he’s decided to spend his hard-earned money to have a formal studio portrait taken with his two prized possessions: a 10-gauge shotgun and the whooping crane he’s just killed with it. Even then, the whooper was rare, and people knew it. Market hunters heavily targeted large birds, hoping to sell their oversized feathers for writing quills. The tallest of all North American birds paid dearly for it. In their darkest hour, whooper numbers would drop to just a handful of individuals. But that was the Victorian era—a time when virtually no laws protected our nation’s wildlife. We know better now. Or do we?

Articles

We will soon know the fate of gray wolf management throughout the majority of this country. If the federal government shamefully abandons its conservation responsibilities for this magnificent animal, the battle will surely move on to the federal courts.
Lesser Prairie Chicken, © Joel Sartore
Emergency Preparedness; Red Wolves in the Spotlight; Plummeting Lesser Prairie Chicken Population
Gray Wolf, © Angelique Rea
As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers abandoning gray wolf recovery across most of the lower 48 states—even eliminating Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in areas where they have yet to be restored or barely have a foothold—recent polls released by Defenders show that the public is against the idea.
Florida Manatee, © Joel Sartore
It was a tough year for Florida manatees. At press time in December, the death toll stood at 796—more than double the 2012 total, making 2013 the deadliest year on record.
California eliminates lead in hunting ammo, protecting condors and many other species.
© Flickr USer 24oranges.nl
Branded America’s favorite fruit, the banana isn’t usually grown in ways favorable for wildlife.
Defenders' staff get ready to release black-footed ferrets. From left: Russ Talmo, Kylie Paul, Charlotte Conley and Jonathan Proctor, Photo: Kylie Paul/DOW
Black-footed ferrets reintroduced to tribal lands in the West
Green Sea Turtle, Photo: NOAA
Named for THE color of their fat—a result of their exclusively vegetarian diet as adults—green sea turtles come ashore each year to nest as they have done since the age of the dinosaurs.