Defenders in Action: Protecting the World's Rarest Wildlife

Cheetah, © Suzi Esterhas/Minden Pictures

© Suzi Esterhas/Minden Pictures

Health care reform, global warming and other issues have been at the top of the U.S. Senate's agenda in recent months. But those who also care about the survival of the greatest wild cats, dogs and wolves of the world hope that The Great Cats and Rare Canids Act will pass in the Senate in 2010.

Aimed at conserving 15 of the world's rarest cats and canids, including the cheetah, clouded leopard, maned wolf and the Iberian lynx, the legislation would enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support conservation projects on the ground where these animals live. The legislation would create a conservation fund through the annual appropriations process and would enable the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to partner with nonprofit groups and foreign agencies to undertake a range of proactive conservation programs, such as monitoring and law enforcement to reduce poaching and illegal trafficking, and for activities that raise awareness in local human populations.

"Great cats are particularly at risk from hunting for trade purposes, while rare canids are susceptible to disease," says Nina Fascione, Defenders' vice president for field conservation. "This bill will allow the establishment of programs to address these species-specific threats."

Defenders of Wildlife was instrumental in getting the bill passed in the House of Representatives last April.

More Articles from Winter 2010

In Alaska's war on predators, politics trumps science
Offshore wind power is a promising clean energy source, but can it be made safe for birds?
As the planet warms, protecting rivers in the arid Southwest becomes even more crucial
Once every three years, representatives gather from the 175 nations that have signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Once every three years, representatives gather from the 175 nations that have signed on to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
In the back room, endangered pangolins—scaly, armored mammals native to Southeast Asia and parts of Africa—were being "processed." The armadillo-like animals were skinned; their valuable scales removed; organs, blood and fetuses separated out; and the remaining meat boiled.
Along Highway 160 in southwestern Colorado, the movement of deer and elk mark the changing seasons.
Dwelling high in western mountains, American pikas bear little resemblance to their closest cousin—the rabbit.
The canine carnage continued in the northern Rockies this fall: As this issue went to press, more than 180 wolves had been killed in Montana and Idaho, eight of them just outside the border of Yellowstone National Park.
Lynx Driven to the Brink; The Right Thing to Do; Living with Wildlife
A new poison is on the menu in Great Plains states, where ranchers claim that burrowing, grass-eating prairie dogs degrade pasture land.
After being hunted to near extinction about a century ago, sea otters have struggled to recover—facing threats such as oil spills, fishing gear entrapment, food supply shortages and diseases.

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