Working for Laws that Protect Wildlife

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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. 

Major congressional issue priorities include: the Endangered Species Act; funding for conservation programs such as the National Wildlife Refuge System; policies to better enable wildlife adapt to a changing climate; energy policy, particularly as it relates to the protection of federal lands and waters; and defending against anti-environmental policy riders.

In alphabetical order, we advocate on issues including:

Anti-Environmental Policy Riders

Defenders of Wildlife defends our wildlife, air, land and water from attacks mounted through anti-environmental policy riders to annual appropriations bills and other “must pass” legislation.


Defenders of Wildlife educates decision-makers about the importance of borderlands ecosystem and opposes legislation that would undermine protections for wildlife and lands along both the northern and southern borders under the guise of national security. 

Endangered Species Act

Defenders of Wildlife supports funding for key Endangered Species Act programs and opposes legislation that would remove or block protections for imperiled wildlife and weaken the ESA.

Energy Policy and Public Land and Water Protection

Defenders of Wildlife supports environmentally sound, smart, and wildlife friendly energy policies and defends wildlife on our public lands and waters against dirty and damaging oil extraction.

Funding for Wildlife and Habitat

Defenders of Wildlife is advocating for sufficient funding for key wildlife programs administered by  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies.

Global Warming and Wildlife

Defenders supports enactment of the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment (SAFE) Act, which would help reduce current and future impacts of global warming on wildlife and habitat.

National Wildlife Refuges

Defenders of Wildlife works to help the National Wildlife Refuge System fight a serious funding crisis and opposes legislation that would damage the System.

Public Lands

Defenders of Wildlife works to ensure that the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management effectively conserve wildlife on their lands and receive adequate federal funding.  We defend wildlife on our federal land and waters against damaging legislation.

Additional Issues

Defenders of Wildlife advocates on a range of legislative issues of importance to species conservation.