Unrelenting pressure from some commercial and political interests continue to threaten landmark conservation laws, like the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and concocting legal and legislative attacks to weaken or override it or slash its funding to a point where it can no longer function.

We are identifying current and emerging conservation challenges, developing solutions that improve outcomes and use a suite of techniques and partnerships to advocate for solutions that will make a difference.

Defenders' Impact

Our team in Washington, D.C. advocates for wildlife on Capitol Hill, alerting legislators to key conservation issues and arming them with the science and policy information they need to make informed conservation policy decisions.

We meet with legislators and their staff to help them better understand the impacts of their decisions on wildlife and connect them with their constituents who feel strongly that their elected officials must also represent the interests of our wildlife and wild places.

We maintain a Twitter account to disseminate timely legislative updates and annually publish a Conservation Report Card that lists House and Senate votes on key conservation issues, providing a clear assessment of how well members of Congress are doing to protect wildlife and wild lands for future generations. Our Washington, D.C. office is also home to our Center for Conservation Innovation, where we focus on improving endangered species conservation in the U.S. by using data, technology and interdisciplinary approaches.

What We Do

Advocating for International Species

We actively work with Congress and states to implement stronger laws to protect wildlife in the U.S., and enforce harsher penalties for those who commit wildlife crimes.

Defending Conservation Laws

We work to ensure that Congress does not weaken the Endangered Species Act or other conservation laws that protect imperiled species.

Innovating for Wildlife Conservation

We are pioneering innovative, pragmatic solutions to think about the next generation of wildlife policies and practices.

Speaking for Wildlife

Our team in Washington, D.C. advocates for wildlife on Capitol Hill, alerting legislators to key conservation issues and arming them with science-based information.


Washington, DC

Finding Refuge: Endangered Species and the National Wildlife Refuge System

Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association used hundreds of federal documents and data to develop an up-to-date list of species found on the National Wildlife Refuge System. In a new report, they found that 513 ESA-listed species—nearly one-third of all U.S.-listed species—are found on (or depend on) at least 444 of the 568 wildlife refuges.

Wildlife and Wild Places