Defenders In the News

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November 17, 2015

The US government has failed to properly protect the red wolf, one of the world’s rarest wolves, by allowing a member of the species’ small wild population to be killed, conservationists have claimed. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been taken to court by a coalition of environmental groups that argues it has not properly protected the endangered red wolf, with estimates of just 50 to 75 of the animals left in the wild in North Carolina. A lawsuit filed with the US district court for the eastern district of North Carolina states that the FWS permitted a landowner to kill an adult female red wolf in June that was known to have mothered a total of 16 pups through four litters.

November 9, 2015

The bear arrives around 8 p.m., snuggling her 400 pounds of girth between the house and the adjacent row of bushes. It's quiet there, and she won’t be disturbed. She even has access to the neighbor’s apple trees. When UM senior Tana Wilson went home to Libby for the weekend on Oct. 24, she found she wasn’t the only guest. This female black bear had been consistently staying the night in her family’s yard. The Wilsons aren’t the only western Montana family to host a bear this fall. A bear in the hallways of Bozeman High School made national news. Jamie Jonkel is a bear biologist for Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Region 2, which covers 1,500 square miles of western Montana. On a normal year, he receives around seven calls per day. This year, he receives around 40, or an increase of approximately 600 percent. There are six other wardens in Region 2 who receive similar amounts of calls.

October 25, 2015

There’s no question that the Endangered Species Act has had some major successes...But an endangered listing typically serves as an option of last resort for declining species in America — something that can swoop in when numbers get frighteningly low. There are many species that aren’t yet listed as endangered but whose numbers are threatened by pollution, loss of habitat, and other factors. That’s why a new report from the Center for American Progress recommends that the federal government create a new category under the Endangered Species Act — “at risk.” An at risk species would be a lower category than the ESA’s threatened or endangered listing, and wouldn’t afford a species any legal protections. But it would encourage voluntary efforts to conserve the at-risk species’ habitat, and would prioritize federal funding for incentives for this voluntary conservation.

October 21, 2015
Florida Panther (captive), © Joel Sartore

Florida panthers numbered as few as five and as many as 20 by best guess nearly 50 years ago. After a 48-year-old ban on hunting the big cats, their population is estimated to be least 180 adults in the wild. Florida’s iconic official state animal is at a crossroad in its survival. Federal authorities have a plan to guide the Florida panthers’ recovery, which includes establishing at least two more separate populations of 240 adults outside of South Florida.

October 16, 2015

Senator Dianne Feinstein is drummed up support for three proposed national monuments in the southern California desert by holding a public listening session at the Whitewater Preserve near Palm Springs on Tuesday. She introduced a bill earlier this year, the California Desert Conservation and Recreation Act of 2015, that would, among other things, create the Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments in areas that are home to the endangered desert bighorn sheep and the threatened desert tortoise.

September 10, 2015
Florida Panhandle (Apalachicola National Forest), © Julie Tew

Defenders of Wildlife has hired an experienced conservationist and longtime Tar Heel to open a new office in Asheville, N.C. As Southeast program director, Ben Prater will be responsible for working to conserve priority imperiled wildlife including red wolves, Florida panthers, manatees, freshwater mussels, freshwater fish, amphibians, whales and migratory shorebirds, according to his LinkedIn profile.

September 2, 2015

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act twice in the past two years when it gave private landowners permission to kill endangered red wolves near the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina, conservationists said Tuesday in a letter to the agency.

August 24, 2015

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein said she has asked President Obama to bypass Congress and create three new national monuments in California, giving federal protection to more than 1 million acres of mountain ranges, sandy expanses and forests lying roughly between Palm Springs and the Nevada border.

August 21, 2015

On a Northern California hiking trail near the Cascades’ Mount Shasta, two all-black adult wolves and five 4-month-old pups have been captured on film. It’s the first time in modern history that a gray wolf pack has been seen in the state since its population was hunted to extinction nearly a century ago.

August 18, 2015

Since 2008, the Wood River Wolf Project has used nonlethal predator deterrents to maintain a much lower rate of depredation on sheep in the Big Wood River drainage than occurs elsewhere, as well as to keep wolves alive.