We’ve been hard at work this year, and thanks to the fantastic dedication and support of our members, we’ve been able to accomplish a lot for wildlife in 2013. Click here to watch a video with a special year-end message from our president !
Here are just some of the things that we’ve been able to do this year with your help.
Across the U.S.
Thanks to our supporters, we are able to conduct crucial on-the-ground work across the U.S. This year, Defenders:
- Worked with our tribal conservation partners in Montana to organize the second reintroduction of pure wild bison to the Great Plains, bringing this incredible national icon a step closer to a secure future in its native home.
- Applied significant pressure through the courts and formal protests to the Bureau of Land Management and California Energy Commission that ultimately convinced developers to cancel the Calico solar energy project, which would have been built right on top of 4,000 acres of vital habitat for desert tortoise and the Mojave fringe-toed lizard.
- Convinced Florida officials to protect a piece of land that holds one of the largest populations of gopher tortoises in north Florida.
- Funded the first-ever polar bear oil spill washing table, a tool that could save countless lives if an oil spill were to take place in the Arctic.
- Constructed 50 different electric fencing projects in grizzly bear country, keeping people, pets and property safe, and keeping bears out of trouble that could get them killed.
- Worked with Patagonia Area Resource Alliance to set up a remote camera monitoring project in the Patagonia mountain range to document the presence of jaguars and ocelots in the area. This will be the proof we need to keep the mining industry out of this important habitat.
- Launched an extension of our Living with Wildlife program in the southwest, helping local predator-friendly ranchers use nonlethal methods of keeping Mexican gray wolves away from their livestock.
- Kicked off our first-ever Backcountry Wolverine Watchers program, teaching those who enjoy the backcountry to identify signs and sightings of wolverines and report this vital information to conservation groups.
- Worked closely with our tribal partners to restore native wildlife to the landscape on several Indian reservations and help it to thrive, including bison at Fort Peck, prairie dogs and black-footed ferrets at Fort Belknap, swift fox at Pine Ridge and many more.
On the Hill and in the Courts
Through lobbying and outreach around the country, our outstanding legal, policy and advocacy teams thwarted several attempts to weaken protections for endangered species and their habitats through attacks on the Endangered Species Act, and in some cases, even helped create new protections. This year, we:
- Mobilized hundreds of thousands of supporters – including community leaders, state officials and Congressmen – to oppose the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from most gray wolves in the U.S. We rallied around each public hearing, bringing a strong show of support to every event, and ultimately sending the message loud and clear: Americans want wolves to stay protected!
- Worked with conservation partners to pass a lead ammunition ban in the state of California. This law will help remove deadly lead from the environment and protect native wildlife, including endangered California condors.
- Launched a major new campaign – Conservation Crossroads – to promote endangered species recovery and actively engage citizens in defending the Endangered Species Act from frequent attacks in Congress.
- Exposed the back-room dealings that some states and land agencies are creating in order to avoid listing a species as endangered. Our investigation into the Texas oil-drilling on protected habitat for the dunes sagebrush lizard gained national media attention.
- Fought hard against the delisting of wolves in Wyoming, where the current management plan is hardly worthy of the name. We’re awaiting the judge’s decision – we’ll let you know the outcome as soon as we have it!
Around the World
Wildlife doesn’t stop at U.S. borders – so neither do we. Working with partners around the world, this year we:
- Helped Mexico reach the lowest rate of illegal parrot trade since 1995, thanks in part to our longstanding efforts to bring attention to this disturbing and harmful practice.
- Convinced Mexican officials to protect vital nesting habitat for sea turtles. Now Mexico’s beaches, visited by every species of sea turtle in the world each year, are a much safer place for nesting mothers and new hatchlings.
- Played a key role in achieving the first-ever listing of shark and manta species under the international protection of CITES, a wonderful step forward in protecting sharks from the devastation of an unregulated fin trade.
- Struck an important agreement against illegal logging of tropical forests – home to a wide variety of endangered species – at this year’s CITES convention.
- Conducted a hands-on workshop in Brazil to teach shark identification to officials from fisheries and governments across Latin American and the Caribbean. This is the first step in helping these nations put new rules and methods in place to cut down on illegal shark finning.
Thank you so much to all of you who have been a part of making all of this important work possible. We wish you a very happy new year, and look forward to achieving even more successes with your help in 2014!