u.s. fish

Here’s something you don’t see everyday. Three Canada geese flying through a rainbow at Morris Wetland Management District in Minnesota. Made up of 245 small parcels of wetlands and grasslands scattered throughout an eight-county area, the Morris District restores and protects enough wetland and grassland habitat to meet the needs of prairie wildlife and breeding waterfowl, as well as providing places for public recreation. Photo by Alex Galt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Trump administration is delaying listing this bumblebee as officially endangered

  • Last month, the rusty patched bumblebee became the very first species of bees in the continental U.S. to be officially marked as “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • According to the Associated Press, the new designation was scheduled to go into effect on Friday, until the Trump administration delayed the move one day before.
  • The federal government announced the delay, which is in compliance with an order signed by Trump in January.
  • The regulation that would add the rusty patched bumblebee to the endangered species list, guaranteeing it federal protection, will be postponed until March 21.
  • According to the White House this will allow time for “reviewing questions of fact, law and policy they raise.” Read more (2/9/17 3:06 PM)

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Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II. This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state. But there’s another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I’m a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I’ve spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told.

In June 1942, Japan invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu, the westernmost islands of Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, an archipelago of 69 islands stretching some 1,200 miles across the North Pacific Ocean toward Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. From a strategic perspective, Japan wanted to close what they perceived as America’s back door to the Far East. For thousands of years, the islands have been inhabited by a resourceful indigenous people called Aleuts. During the Russian-American Period (1733 to 1867), when Alaska was a colonial possession of Russia, Russian fur-seekers decimated Aleut populations through warfare, disease, and slavery.

Shortly after Japan’s invasion, American naval personnel arrived with orders to round up and evacuate Aleuts from the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof Islands to internment camps almost 2,000 miles away near Juneau. Stewardship of the internment camps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USF&WS). Furthermore, orders included the burning of the villages to the ground, including their beloved churches, as part of a “scorched earth” policy. The Army’s stated purpose was to protect the Aleuts, who were American citizens, from the dangers of war. But one officer told astonished Aleuts that it was, as he put it, “Because ya’ll look like Japs and we wouldn’t want to shoot you.” That exchange is part of a documentary video called Aleut Evacuation.

The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity

Photo: National Archives, General Records of the Department of the Navy

Highly intelligent and resourceful, raccoons are one of the most widespread mammals in North America. They have adapted to live in forests, mountain areas, coastal marshes and even urban centers. In Native American legends, they are known as tricksters and mischief-makers. Their characteristic masks and dexterous paws make them seem cute and approachable, but never forget that they are wild animals. Photo by Gary Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

This is Una. She is currently staying at SeaWorld Orlando’s manatee rehabilitation center in one of our critical care pools. The white slatted floor is a hydraulic false bottom which can be raised in order to bring the animals up out of the water for medical treatment with minimal stress. Thanks to the tracking and observation efforts of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, we know quite a few details about her life. 

This isn’t her first time at SeaWorld. She was rescued as an orphaned calf in 2003, weighing in at 170lbs. At a weight of 980lbs, she was released at Blue Springs State Park with a few other manatees in 2006. She has been seen with a calf of her own, which is very exciting. However, she also suffered from at least one boat strike. She recovered and was left with five propeller scars on her back. Around 90% of manatees have wounds from boat strikes. The scars are used by scientists to identify individuals. Eventually, Una shed her tracking device but was still spotted regularly and easily recognized by the “A5” ID marking on her tail. In late November of 2016, she was discovered to be severely entangled. Both of her pectoral flippers were tightly wrapped in monofilament fishing line which had cut deeply into the tissue almost to the bone. This is what happens when people toss tangled up fishing line overboard or just let wads of it blow away. Please recycle monofilament fishing line properly.

 If you’d like to visit Una during her recovery, come see the Manatee Rehabilitation Area inside SeaWorld Orlando adjacent to the sea turtle habitat. The park is currently caring for 18 manatees. An adult manatee can eat around 200lbs of wet vegetation per day, and the little orphans are bottle fed specialized formula every two hours around the clock. Rescued patients need radiographs, ultrasounds, endoscopies, daily medications, tube feedings, wound care, and complicated surgical prodecures. SeaWorld of Orlando, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, and the Jacksonville Zoo are the only facilites permited by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as designated manatee hospitals. Your visit funds the care of these sick and injured manatees and other rescued wildlife.

The Florida manatee was recently reclassified as “Threatened” (Previously “Endangered”), but the species is far from recovered. They still need all of the protection and support we can provide. “Not endangered” does not mean “not in danger”. If you are a Florida resident, please always vote for legislation that protects and benefits manatees. You can learn more about the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership here: public.wildtracks.org

I hope you have your representatives on speed-dial! Use that phone for some good.

The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.

A Senate hearing to “modernize the Endangered Species Act” unfolded Wednesday just as supporters of the law had feared, with round after round of criticism from Republican lawmakers who said the federal effort to keep species from going extinct encroaches on states’ rights, is unfair to landowners and stymies efforts by mining companies to extract resources and create jobs.

The Endangered Species Act is a 43-year-old law enacted under the Nixon administration at a time when people were beginning to understand how dramatically chemical use and human development were devastating species. It has since saved the bald eagle, California condor, gray wolves, black-footed ferret, American alligator and Florida manatee from likely extinction.

But members of the hearing said its regulations prevented people from doing business and making a living. In a comment to a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director who testified at the hearing, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), repeated a point made by Barrasso that of more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered since the act’s inception, fewer than 50 have been removed.

An American bald eagle prepares to snag a perch in the prime fishing grounds below Conowingo Dam in Darlington, Md., in November 2012. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

Check marks the spot! A recovery program for one of the rarest butterfly species in Southern California, the Quino checkerspot, has reached an important milestone. A team of biologists from the San Diego Zoo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Conservation Biology Institute and San Diego State University observed multiple adult butterflies, following the first-ever release of larvae into their native range in the San Diego Wildlife Refuge earlier this year. The sightings of adult butterflies in the habitat is an early sign of success for the recovery effort for this precious pollinator.

“In the five years that we have partnered on this project, I have personally seen a total of six Quino checkerspot butterflies in the wild, in multiple habitats,” said Paige Howorth, associate curator of invertebrates at the San Diego Zoo. “Observing more than 35 butterflies flying in one day on the reintroduction site is extraordinary—it’s a welcome measure of hope, after years of drought and uncertainty for this species.”

The work to protect the Quino checkerspot butterfly continues during the second year of the assisted rearing program at the San Diego Zoo. Biologists collected 12 females in eastern San Diego County early last week to provide a foundation for the rearing of larvae at the Zoo. The wild adult butterflies were selected in the field based on an assessment of their body condition: vigorous, slightly older females that appeared to have already mated were chosen for the project. In this way, the butterflies can contribute eggs to both the wild population and the rearing project at the Zoo.

The Eastern Cougar

Officially declared extinct by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the eastern cougar is still believed by many to still roam Eastern North America. The endangered species was declared extinct in 2011, and claimed it has been since the 1930’s. The general population seems to think otherwise, and the Canadian federal government has not yet accepted its extinction.

It is claimed that since the 1960’s, over 10,000 sightings of cougars have taken place in the eastern United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has acknowledged some of the sightings of cougars in the east, but claims they are of western cougars wandering into the east or of escaped pets. Due to this creature being officially extinct but still being spotted by the general population, the Eastern Cougar is now officially a cryptid.

The stillness of a winter sunrise is a moment to cherish at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. Established in 1966, the refuge protects salt marshes and estuaries important for migrating birds. Stretching from the coast to inland forests, the refuge offers amazing views and wildlife watching on five excellent trails. Photo by Ward Feurt, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


This bumblebee is the first bee species in the continental US listed as “endangered”

  • The adorably named rusty patched bumblebee just became the first bee species in the contiguous United States to be officially categorized as “endangered” by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Since the late 1990s, its population has shrunk by 87%, CNN reported.
  • “The rusty patched bumblebee is among a group of pollinators, including the monarch butterfly, experiencing serious declines across the country,” Tom Melius, the Wildlife Service’s midwest regional director, told CNN. Read more

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One of nature’s most social and playful creatures, river otters have big personalities and even bigger appetites. Often seen in groups, they can be observed hunting and frolicking year round at Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. In winter, you might even catch them sliding across the ice on their bellies. Photo courtesy of Kenny Bahr.

100,000 pounds – that’s how much garbage has been removed from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument over the past six years! 

Every year, NOAA staff, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Hawai'i and other partners, travel to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to remove tons of marine debris that accumulates there. Though the islands are remote and uninhabited, ocean currents and weather bring debris like fishing gear and plastic trash to their shores. There, it poses a threat to animals like Hawaiian monk seals, green sea turtles, and seabirds, which can become entangled or consume pieces of plastic. 

The 100,000-pound mountain of debris that has been collected over the past six years was recently shipped from Midway Atoll to Honolulu, where it will be processed through the Nets to Energy Program to produce electricity! Many thanks to all of our partners who have contributed to making Papahānaumokuākea a safer, healthier place for its inhabitants. 

(Photo: NOAA)

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge encompasses some of Alabama’s last remaining undisturbed coastal barrier habitat. The name Bon Secour is French for “safe harbor,” very appropriate considering the sanctuary it provides for native flora and fauna. This refuge is a natural oasis of wildlands, where wildlife can exist without harm. It may be too cold to go in the water, but even in winter, a walk on the beach can be a beautiful experience. Photo by Stephanie Pluscht, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Around The World In 80 Days: U.S. Territory, American Samoa

Ocean Peaks
Photo Credit: (Edoriel3)
Flower Pots - Pago Pago
Photo Credit: (Ray Gruchy)
Photo Credit: (Andrea Pozzi)

The photographers deserve credit so DO NOT remove credit information. Thanks.

Fauvette bleue à gorge noire ou Paruline bleue / Black-throated Blue Warbler or Cairns’ Warbler.

Setophaga caerulescens (Gmelin, 1789) :
- Fauvette bleue à gorge noire - Paruline à épaules bleues - Paruline bleue - Paruline bleue à gorge noire;
- Black-throated Blue Warbler - Black-throated warbler - Cairns’ Warbler ;
- Reinita azulada - Chipe azul pizarra - Chipe azul y negro - Reinita dorsiazul - Cigüita azul de garganta negra - Bijirita azul de garganta negra,;
- Dendroica golanera ;
- Felosa-azul-de-garganta-preta ;
- Blaurücken-Waldsänger - Blauer Waldsänger ;
- Blauwe zwartkeelzanger ;
- blåryggig skogssångare  ;
- Синеспинный лесной певун ;
- lasówka granatowa ;
- horárik čiernohrdlý ;
- Lesnácek modrohrbetý, lesňáček modrohřbetý ;
- ノドグロルリアメリカムシクイ ;
- 黑喉蓝林莺

Ordre : Passériformes - Passeriformes /
Famille : Parulidés - Parulidae /
Genre : Setophaga  /
Espèce : caerulescens - Sous-espèces : + 2 /
Longévité : 9 ans.

Black-throated Blue Warbler / photo: Steve Maslowski, USFWS

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters  / (CC BY 2.0) 



An impressive mix of pine savannas and wetlands, Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge straddles the border of Alabama and Mississippi and preserves a uniquely southern environment. With only 5 percent of wet pine savanna remaining across its originally range, the refuge is home to many unusual plants, including 9 species of carnivorous plants. Discover these and other marvels as you explore this remarkable place. Photo by Tom Carlisle via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Picture by Don Bartletti


The only wolf ever documented in Southern California may have been a victim of mistaken identity nearly a century ago.

The 100-pound male wolf was pursuing a bighorn sheep in the Mojave Desert’s rugged Providence Mountains in 1922 when a steel-jaw trap clamped onto one of its legs.

Based on measurements of its skull, biologists at the time determined that it was a lone Southern Rocky Mountain gray wolf that had wandered out of a population in southern Nevada.

But a different story is emerging from a study of that skull at UCLA, where researchers have identified DNA markers indicating it was actually a Mexican gray wolf, the “lobo” of Southwestern lore.

Bob Wayne, an evolutionary biologist at the university, said the finding could help extend the historic range of the federally endangered Mexican gray wolf, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contends ranged over parts of central and northern Mexico, western Texas, southern New Mexico and southeastern and central Arizona.

Broadening the species’ historical range to include Southern California would allow for an assessment of additional habitats for Mexican wolf reintroduction programs,” Wayne said. That, in turn, could enhance its chances of survival

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