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Defenders of Wildlife

[www.defenders.org]

History
Originally founded in North America as the “Defenders of Furbearers” in
1947, and at the time only had one full time employee and 1500 members. Their
initial aims and directives were to protect furred animals of America from hunting,
both legal and illegal.
In modern times, the group employs 150 professionals and has 500,000
members nationwide. The organisation engages in the task of preserving North
American native species and habitats, and has field offices throughout North
America which study the habitats and species specific to that state. Defenders
works with other conservation organisations in states where they have offices and
often visit important sites to see the species and habitats in those areas and get
first hand experience of what goes on there and the environment itself.

Offices and Headquarters


In addition to their headquarters in Washington DC, they have established
field offices in 9 other states as well as some international offices, these are
located in:

• National Headquarters – Washington, D.C.


• Rocky Mountain Region Office – Bozeman, MT.
• Alaska Office – Anchorage, AK.
• Arizona Office – Tuscon, AZ.
• California Office – Sacramento, CA.
• Colorado Office – Denver, CA.
• Florida Office – St. Petersburg, FL.
• Idaho Office – Boise, ID.
• Montana Office – Missoula, MT.
• Pennsylvania Office – Philadelphia, PA.
• Oregon Office – Portland, OR.
• New Mexico Office – Albuquerque, NM.
• Mexico Office – Mexico, D.F.
• Canada Office – Canmore, Alberta.

What they do
As already stated above, they are a conservation organisation specialised
in wildlife and habitat defence and preservation. They produce an annual report
detailing their progress throughout the year, responses to threats, solutions to
problems and educating the public. They are a peaceful organisation who
campaign and protest to get conservational laws set in place, and have had their
fair share of successful campaigns.
The organisation itself declares that it’s primary concern is for restoring
gray wolves to their natural habitats and regenerating the species, which they
have detailed records of.

Achievements
• Contribution to the passing of the Endangered Species Act, passed in
1973.
o The Defenders now champion and enforce this act to the letter
wherever they are based.
• Returning the gray wolf (classed as endangered) to the northern Rockies,
Yellowstone National Park and northern Idaho in 1995, with the aid of the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, after wolves had not habituated here for
nearly 70 years.
• Passing and promoting the State Wildlife Grant Program, in which all
states had to develop and implement comprehensive plans for wildlife and
habitat conservation.
• Successfully protesting and campaigning against Big Oil’s attempts at
opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil and gas drilling
purposes.
• As part of a coalition of environmentalist groups, Defenders won a key
legal battle in 2006 when a federal judge overturned new Bush
administration rules that allowed pesticides to enter the market without
any consideration being paid to potential affects on wildlife and habitats.
• Launched a successful campaign in 2006 that defended the Endangered
Species Act from being undermined by a bill sponsored by Rep. Richard
Pombo, with the help of Republican and Democratic allies, the senate was
persuaded and the bill not passed.
• Defenders was one of 24 organisations invited to participate in a dialogue
with key senators on how to make the Endangered Species Act more
workable for those required to comply with it, and more effective on
regenerating near-extinct species. The resultant meeting provided a
number of ideas that would help shape future attempts to improve the act.

Continuing Struggles
• Defenders continue to struggle against outlawing aerial gunning of wolves
in Alaska,
o Rep. George Miller has introduced the Protect Wildlife (PAW) Act, to
close a federal loophole which Alaskans use to continue the aerial
hunting of wolves.
• The Habitats and Highways campaign has 2 main objectives:
o Reduce the impacts of roads upon wildlife and habitats. Wanting to
modify existing roads where necessary to allow wildlife to cross,
and minimize the impact on the surrounding environment.
o Reduce future impacts by incorporating wildlife conservation into
transportation planning. Future road development should avoid
wildlife habitats and environmentally sensitive areas.