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2022 Wildlife Refuge Awards Nominations Now Open! — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

Every year, the National Wildlife Refuge Association honors the outstanding accomplishments by refuge managers, refuge employees, volunteers, Friends Groups, and refuge advocates through our Refuge System Awards program.

Today, we begin accepting nominations for our 2022 National Wildlife Refuge Awards!

Think back over the past year and take this opportunity to recognize the dedicated people whose achievements were instrumental in strengthening our national wildlife refuges. 

Visit our Nominations Page and see our Nomination Guidelines to learn more about each award and to download the nomination forms.  If you need some inspiration, here are our 2021 winners and their extraordinary accomplishments benefiting our National Wildlife Refuge System

The deadline for submission is March 7th, 2022. Please feel free to share this blog with anyone you think would be interested in nominating someone. 

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‘Brutal Killing’- endangered leopard shot to death in Pakistan, leaving behind small cubs

Calls to protect Pakistan’s critically endangered wildlife have increased after a leopard died from injuries sustained when it was shot on the banks of a river in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

The injured female leopard was found by locals on Sunday and transported to Islamabad for treatment, but did not survive. An X-ray revealed that it had been hit by six pellets from a 12-bore shotgun.

Local police said a suspect had been arrested and a case registered against him, and that they had recovered a shotgun. The suspect has been released on bail.

Rina Saeed Khan, the chair of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), said one bullet had lodged in the middle of the leopard’s vertebral column, paralysing it.

“Our vets have informed us that the leopard was a mother and the cubs should be around where the leopard was shot,” Khan said. “We have seen people shooting leopards in AJK [Azad Jammu and Kashmir region] for quite some time. Across the country wildlife is diminishing. We have to save our wildlife.”

The country’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tweeted that he was saddened by the “brutal killing” and called on the wildlife department to punish those responsible.

In 2020, the prime minister, Imran Khan, ordered the establishment of 12 national parks and announced plans to preserve and protect wildlife and plantations.

But hunting of endangered animals – including leopards – has persisted. Rina Saeed Khan said people hunted leopards for two reasons: to sell their fur or to protect livestock.

She said the government should make sure people were properly compensated for dead livestock in order to deter them from shooting big cats.

Villagers are increasingly coming into contact with leopards due to deforestation to make way for homes where once there were jungles, she added.

Imran Khan championed the protection of wildlife on the campaign trail, and in opposition criticised the government for allowing royals from the Middle East to hunt endangered Houbara bustards. In 2016, he tweeted:“Never thought I would see the day when hunting of the endangered Houbara Bustard would become a ‘pillar of our foreign policy’.”

In January 2021, however, he issued special permits for hunting bustards to visitors from the Middle East, drawing harsh criticism from conservationists and activists.

This article by Shah Meer Baloch was first published by The Guardian on 24 January 2022. Lead Image: An employee of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir wildlife with the injured leopard at Neelum Valley on 22 January. Photograph: Sajjad Qayyum/AFP/Getty Images.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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National Wildlife Refuge Association 2021 Annual Report — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

For 46 years, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has worked to support the National Wildlife Refuge System (Refuge System), our country’s extraordinary network of over 850 million acres of lands and waters set aside for wildlife and their habitats. After nearly 2 years, the pandemic continues to disrupt normal operations everywhere and national wildlife refuges across the country are no exception. Even so, with the help of our incredible supporters and dynamic board and staff, the National Wildlife Refuge Association has adapted to meet these challenges, and we are stronger and more resilient than ever. None of our successes would be possible without our donors and supporters.

Our advocacy work to increase funding for the Refuge System and associated programs resulted in a historic budget increase request from the Biden Administration. We also work to ensure the rejection of harmful legislation or incompatible projects, like the proposed construction of a bullet train adjacent to Patuxent Research Refuge in Maryland, mining right beside Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, and oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We now deliver webinars and other content by using Zoom and other virtual tools and we conduct most of our Board and staff meetings remotely. The necessity of switching to virtual platforms has become an incredibly valuable tool in our communications. Even as in-person events resume, we will continue to increase our reach and deliver our message by providing online programming and events directly to national wildlife refuge enthusiasts, whether they are out on a refuge or in front of their computer.

The future is bright for the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Refuge System, and the conservation movement in general. While we face significant challenges from pandemic COVID variants to looming threats from climate change, our commitment to our mission to protect, promote, and enhance the Refuge System will never waver.

As always, thank you for being our friends, allies and partners in our mission and in this movement. 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting year that will see an expansion of our Urban Wildlife Refuge Program to South Florida and the Northeast, improved website functionality, and more in-person events at national wildlife refuges around the country. We could not do any of this without you, and we look forward to seeing you outside.

Sincerely,
Geoffrey L. Haskett, President, & Carl Woodward, Board Chair, National Wildlife Refuge Association

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Petition: Protect Monarch Butterflies – Focusing on Wildlife

Human actions are decimating our planet and making it harder for those who live on it to survive. One such being is the Monarch butterfly.

These beautiful creatures are vital pollinators and help keep the ecosystem in balance.

Monarch butterfly populations have been declining rapidly. While there were around 1.2 million in the 1990s, there were only around 2,000 in 2020.

Furthermore, fewer and fewer are able to survive their biannual migrations between Mexico and Canada/the eastern US.

The usual suspects including habitat destruction, climate change, pesticide use, and other human activities play a huge role in the monarch butterfly population decline.

However, one of the biggest factors is the decline in their main food source as caterpillars: milkweed.

These plants are often cut down or killed with pesticides to make room for industrial farming.

The best way to save monarch butterflies is to officially recognize their endangered status. However, in December 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services denied monarch butterflies protection, despite acknowledging that the species is endangered.

Instead, they merely placed monarch butterflies on the waiting list for endangered status and protection. Fortunately, there is a new review each year.

Sign this petition to demand protections for monarch butterflies now!

This article by Shelby Hettler was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 23 January 2022. Lead Image Source : Khairil Azhar Junos/Shutterstock.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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Protecting the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and the Scenic Driftless Area’s Vital Natural Resources — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

“The U.S. District Court’s comprehensive decision concluding that approvals of the massive Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line violated environmental laws is well-grounded in law and supported by the facts.”

Madison, WI January 19, 2022—

Four conservation groups – the National Wildlife Refuge Association, Driftless Area Land Conservancy, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife – prevailed in a January 14 Opinion by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The detailed Opinion said federal agencies’ approval of ATC, ITC and Dairyland Power’s proposed 102-mile Cardinal-Hickory Creek (CHC) transmission line violated federal environmental laws designed to protect the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires full and fair consideration of reasonable alternatives that are less environmentally damaging and less costly. 

The Court’s Opinion stated: “The Utilities are pushing forward with construction on either side of the Refuge, even without an approved path through the Refuge, in order to make any subsequent challenge to a Refuge crossing extremely prejudicial to their sunk investment, which will fall on their ratepayers regardless of completion of the CHC project, along with a guaranteed return on the Utilities’ investment in the project.”

Geoffrey L. Haskett, President, National Wildlife Refuge Association: 

“The Federal District Court’s ruling on Friday is a resounding victory for the Upper Mississippi National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The proposed transmission lines across the Upper Miss NWFR, which preserves the largest area of floodplain habitat in the country, stretched across four states, would cause irreparable damage to an iconic refuge. The massive Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line violated environmental laws designed to protect this Refuge, and we are grateful for the District Court’s decisive ruling in this case.”

Jennifer Filipiak, Executive Director, Driftless Area Land Conservancy (DALC): 

“The one very obvious inadequacy in the federal agencies’ and ATC’s and ITC’s environmental assessment was that they never evaluated an option in which the transmission line does not go through the Refuge. We are pleased that the Court agreed with us that the Environmental Impact Statement was grossly inadequate.

“DALC has been fighting this line since 2016, when we learned that it would threaten conservation easements that we are legally obligated to protect. Our sustained efforts, in partnership with our Environmental Law & Policy Center attorneys, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, and grass roots supporters, have steadily been paying off in showing that this line is not necessary – there are more economical alternatives to bring green energy to Wisconsin. We hope this recent decision prompts ATC and ITC to stop throwing good money after bad and stop the environmental damage.”

Mark LaBarbera, Executive Director, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation: 

“Good energy solutions, conservation and environmental protections are not mutually exclusive. As a hunter, angler and conservationist who cherishes family time on the upper Mississippi River, I know first-hand what a valuable, world-class resource we all have free access to, and it needs to be protected and used wisely. 

“Our Federation members and affiliated clubs and alliances understand that viewscapes are important just like fish, wildlife and other natural resources of the upper Mississippi. The Court’s decision helps restore confidence in our democracy and reaffirms the value of the Federation’s individual members, partners, affiliates and the public speaking truth to power.”

Lindsay Dubin, Staff Attorney Conservation Law, Defenders of Wildlife:

“We are pleased that the Court saw the Cardinal-Hickory Creek project for what it was: a commercial utility line that would promote deforestation and habitat fragmentation in what must remain a safe haven for wildlife. As the Court decided, the proposed project has no business cutting through the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a crown jewel of the Midwest.”  

Howard Learner, Attorney for the Conservation Organizations and Executive Director, Environmental Law & Policy Center: 

“The U.S. District Court’s comprehensive decision concluding that approvals of the massive Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line violated environmental laws is well-grounded in law and supported by the facts. The Court’s Opinion makes clear that this huge transmission line is not compatible with the purpose and statutory protections for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Running a huge high-voltage transmission line with 20-story high towers through the protected National Wildlife Refuge is illegal and is contrary to common sense and sound policy.

“The Court’s Opinion also makes clear that the agencies and the transmission companies essentially rigged the environmental impact statement process to preclude fairly evaluating alternatives to the huge proposed transmission line, which is the heart of the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirements.” 

“The transmission companies’ continued clearcutting and destruction in the face of these illegalities is irresponsible. The transmission companies should pause, step back, and stop wasting money that they plan to charge to consumers, and stop the unnecessary environmental damage they are making.”

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All 3 lab monkeys found and killed after fleeing US road crash

Every day, animals are cruelly forced into experiments in the name of science. Common lab animals include rats, rabbits, beagles, and monkeys – all of whom suffer immensely at the hands of researchers.

In Pennsylvania, a trailer hauling crates full of an estimated one hundred long-tailed macaque monkeys was headed to a CDC-approved quarantine facility before being transferred to a lab for use in experiments, according to NBC News.

However, before the trailer could reach its destination, it collided with a truck, dumping the crates of monkeys onto the road.

Three of the monkeys escaped into rural Pennsylvania forest, but authorities located the missing monkeys by the following night.

Sadly, the search for the monkeys ended up in tragedy as Sarah Goolden with Fox News reported all three monkeys were killed.

She shared on Facebook, “The CDC confirms that the three monkeys that escaped following the crash were euthanized.

There is no word on the condition of the other 97 monkeys involved in the crash.”

Rumors from locals claim the monkeys were shot on sight, but that’s yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Sign this petition and tell the University of Washington to shut down its horrible monkey testing facility.

This article by Malorie Thompson was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 24 January 2022. Lead Image Source : nicepix / Shutterstock.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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Enhancing Texas Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuges & The Lands Beyond Their Boundaries — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

The Columbia Bottomlands once covered over a thousand square miles of floodplain forest along the Brazos, San Bernard, and Colorado Rivers.  Today, just 150 square miles remain, but the forest still provides critical habitat for a wide range of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.  With the forest’s proximity so close to the coast, it is particularly important as stopover habitat for birds that migrate across the Gulf to Mexico and points further south.

USFWS was able to fund the purchase with close to $11.5 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, combined with private fundraising of just over $2 million.  Principal donors included the Knobloch Family Foundation, Houston’s Brown Foundation, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which selected Peach Creek Forest as its first conservation project supported by the Bezos Earth Fund.  Project negotiations and fundraising were led by consultants, Ernest Cook and Mike Lange, who were retained by the Friends of Brazoria Wildlife Refuges through a grant from the Damuth Foundation. The Nature Conservancy also played a key role in fundraising for the project.

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Albatrosses can plunge up to 62ft underwater to pursue prey – more than twice as deep as previously thought, study reveals

New research by scientists from the University of Oxford, British Geological Survey, and Portugal’s Marine and Environmental Sciences Center shows that the black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris) can dive to much greater depths (19 m, or 62 feet) and for much longer (52 seconds) than previously thought — three times the maxima previously recorded for this species (6 m, or 20 feet, and 15 seconds), and more than twice the maxima reliably recorded previously for any albatross.

“Albatrosses (family Diomedeidae) are the iconic aerial wanderers of the oceans, supremely adapted for long-distance dynamic soaring flight,” said University of Oxford’s Professor Tim Guilford and his colleagues.

“Perhaps because of this they are considered poorly adapted for diving, in contrast to many smaller shearwater and petrel relatives, despite having amphibious eyes, and an a priori mass advantage for oxygen-storage tolerance.”

“Modern biologging studies have largely confirmed this view, casting doubt on earlier observations using capillary tube maximum depth gauges, which may exaggerate depths, and emphasizing albatrosses’ reliance on near-surface feeding.”

“Nevertheless, uncertainty about albatross diving remains an important knowledge gap since bycatch in human fisheries (e.g. birds becoming hooked when diving for longline bait fish) is thought to be driving many population declines in this most threatened group of birds.”

Using miniature electronic depth loggers, the researchers documented the journeys of the black-browed albatross population in the Falklands commuting to the South American coast and diving at unexpected depths to pursue prey.

“A better understanding of the unobserved behavior of the albatrosses and other endangered seabirds is essential to conservation efforts,” said University of Oxford’s Dr. Oliver Padget.

“That black-browed albatrosses are physically capable of such deep dives will now need to be considered when thinking about the effectiveness of mitigation strategies that rely on the species being restricted to the surface.”

Diving activities recorded amongst the population took place during the day, suggesting that the albatrosses rely on their vision to pursue shoaling prey on deeper dives.

“We found that deep diving was restricted to daylight hours, and so one potential mitigation could be for pelagic long lines to be set at night when albatross might be less likely, or able, to chase baits and become caught,” Dr. Padget said.

“Diving in this population could be the result of previously unseen behavioral flexibility, and have important consequences for how we think about the risks to threatened species, and for how they might respond to change,” Professor Guilford said.

The findings appear in the journal Current Biology.

_____

Tim Guilford et al. 2022. Unexpectedly deep diving in an albatross. Current Biology 32 (1): R26-R28; doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2021.11.036

This article was first published by Sci-News on 20 January 2022. Lead Image: The black-browed albatross (Thalassarche melanophris). Image credit: Uwe Kils / CC BY-SA 3.0.


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.

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Guests Go Wild Over Wild About Wildlife Event in Palm Beach — The National Wildlife Refuge Association

The evening raised $130,000 for the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge and the 28 other national wildlife refuges in Florida. Co-chairs were Dragana Connaughton, Nancy Marshall, and Elaine Meier. Honorary Chair was Marshall Field V. Wildlife was provided by Busch Wildlife Sanctuary.

Focusing on the corridor north of Lake Okeechobee, which provides water flow down through the remainder of the Everglades to Biscayne Bay, the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 200 species of birds and wildlife, including the Florida panther.

The staff collaborates daily with ranchers, educating the next generation of advocates, and conducting community outreach programs to preserve the corridor and to protect this precious resource from future development.

The National Wildlife Refuge Association, is the leading independent voice advocating on behalf of the National Wildlife Refuge System, which protects, promotes, and enhances America’s wildlife. There are 568 national wildlife refuges nationwide.

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World’s saddest rhino who cried after horn was ripped off released back into wild

A rhino will be released back into the wild after heartbreaking images showed it with tears running down its face after poachers attacked.

Touching footage shows Seha, a 4,500-pound Southern White rhino, being trained one day before he gets his first taste of freedom in six years.

He will be transported from a paddock into the wild tomorrow.

The huge moment comes after his horn was brutally hacked off by poachers in South Africa.

They left the rhino for dead in 2016 as he ‘wasn’t worth a bullet to put down’.

But the alarm was raised when police stumbled across the animal two weeks later.

Seha was rescued by wildlife veterinarian Johan Marais, who founded Saving the Survivors which saves animals that have fallen victim to traumatic incidents.

After moving to the Marataba Game Reserve in South Africa, Seha underwent 30 operations and recovered with the aid of three organisations and hundreds of donors.

Celebrities including Ricky Gervais and Lorraine Kelly took to Twitter to share the picture of the crying rhino when it went viral late last year.

Sharing the story on Twitter, Ricky said: ‘Devastating. I go from wanting to cry, to wanting to f***ing batter the c**** who did this.’

Animal lovers were left furious when this picture of Seha ‘crying’ went viral last year (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@human.kind.)
He was taken in by Saving the Survivors (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@savingthesu)
He was taken in by Saving the Survivors (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@savingthesu)
It will be Seha’s first taste of freedom in six years (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@savingthesu)
It will be Seha’s first taste of freedom in six years (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@savingthesu)

The upsetting photo was taken by British director and photographer Simon Needham, 55.

‘When I heard about Saving the Survivors within the community and after hearing what they do I offered my time to photograph the rhino to help promote their need to raise money’, Simon said.

‘Poachers butchered the rhino’s horns and removed parts of the bone in his skull as well.

‘The owners of the game reserve left him for dead for two weeks as he wasn’t worth a bullet to put him down, not without his horns.

‘The police noticed him and called Saving the Survivors to help him.

‘Six years later, Seha is now finally ready to go back into the wild, due to the effort and diligence of Johan Marais.’

This article by Emma Brazell was fist published by Metro on 23 January 2022. Lead Image: Pictures show Seha being trained to go back into the wild (Picture: mediadrumimages.com/@savingthesu).


What you can do

Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.



Fighting for Wildlife supports approved wildlife conservation organizations, which spend at least 80 percent of the money they raise on actual fieldwork, rather than administration and fundraising. When making a donation you can designate for which type of initiative it should be used – wildlife, oceans, forests or climate.