Defenders Magazine

Winter 2016

Volume 90, Issue 1


Wildlife trafficking, © John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS

On a Monday in February 2013, Carlos Pages pored over paperwork that accompanied a huge shipment of animals that had just arrived at Miami International Airport on a flight from Paraguay. The crates and boxes contained a wide assortment of species—some 3,500 toads, frogs, tarantulas and snakes. Although the animals arrived in pretty good shape and everything looked okay on paper, something wasn’t quite right, remembers Pages, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) inspector. Then an email tip came in, informing him that the documents were forged. “Counterparts in Paraguay verified that the permits were fraudulent, and we seized the animals,” he says. Eleven days later, the animals were loaded back on a plane, headed home. En route 204 of them perished. Back in Paraguay, the survivors were examined, quarantined, and the healthy ones were ultimately released back into the wild.


Monarch butterflies, © Yuval Helfman/Adobe
Habitat loss from agriculture and urban development along their way are putting these majestic migrators at risk.
Sea turtle, © Keenan Adams/USFWS
Sea turtles still face challenges
Photo credit: ©Fotohansel/Adobe
When George Pakenham spotted a passenger-less stretch limo outside a Manhattan restaurant with its engine running, he decided he’d had enough and approached the driver to ask him to turn off the engine while waiting.
Spectacled Eider,  © Gary Kramer/Gary
Climate change is upsetting the delicate balance that the spectacled eider needs to survive. Still recovering from decades of damage by lead poisoning, now this diving duck is facing a winter food shortage.