Oct 2

Science Endangered at the Fish and Wildlife Service

The Gray Wolf, The Whooping Crane, The Bald Eagle are just a few of the species of iconic wildlife that define and represent our country.  They are also some of the species that we are a few wrong steps away from losing forever.    Most Americans sleep better at night knowing that our government shares our concern for protecting these iconic species, dedicating money and manpower and using the best science to make management decisions, but a recent report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists suggest that this may not the case. 

The report surveyed 7,000 scientists in 4 different agencies, NOAA, FDA, CDC and the Fish and Wildlife Service and the results were troubling.  Of the scientists surveyed at Fish and Wildlife, 72% believe that too much consideration was given to political interests at their agency, and 47% of agency scientists believe industry interference in agency decision-making is concerning, the highest percentages of any other government agency surveyed.  These numbers suggest that our comfortable confidence that the Fish and Wildlife service is acting in the best interest of America’s wildlife is unfounded, and that FWS is in fact more concerned with catering to the best interests of politicians and their industry sponsors. 

UCSSurveyPoliticalInterest

Many of the responses from the scientists interviewed gave startling insight into the fragility of proper enforcement of the Endangered Species Act in the hands of an agency which does not base its decisions on proper scientific research.  Perhaps best stated by an interviewed FWS scientist,

Scientific integrity among biological staff is high, but is sometimes affected by political policy interventions by upper management. We are still hearing of high-level supervisors that take draft BOs home and rewrite them to fit political agendas”.

Or equally concerning: “Less political considerations are needed. Most decisions I’m aware of: wolf, wolverine, American burying beetle, mussels, were the result of political interference.” 

Besides enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the report highlighted other challenges within the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Multiple comments described a culture of fear at FWS, both for scientists and management, scientists who feel pressured to compromise their science to protect their careers, and management who fear political attacks on the Endangered Species Act.  With a budget that is regularly reduced and continued Congressional attacks to gut the Endangered Species act, a burgeoning culture of fear and reduction of efficacy at FWS is certainly understandable, but not acceptable “Our operating budgets have been decreased, as have our staffs. Our regulatory responsibilities keep increasing. As a result, staff are often spread too thin. As long as our director is a political appointee, politics will always enter into regulatory decisions”.

With the release of UCS’s report it becomes clear that some dramatic changes within The Fish and Wildlife Service need to be made before we as Americans can once again sleep easy.  In the meantime America, wake up.  You are now the last line of defense protecting our vanishing wildlife from disappearing forever in exchange for political gain. With what we now know, the protection of our wildlife can no longer be passed off with trust that others are taking action and making appropriate decisions, your voice is needed.   Step up for wildlife and take action for change by voicing your concerns to the administration of the Fish and Wildlife Service through our action page.   

22 Comments on Science Endangered at the Fish and Wildlife Service

  1. Lisa says:

    Dan Ashe Needs to Go Now !
    Time for someone who will protect vs. neglect !
    This dept needs an overhaul and new operating procedures. They need to make decisions based on science and not politics or hunting groups who lobby.

    It is up to us to scream and be the squeaky wheel for all the animals – until things change at the USFW, starting with removal of Dan Ashe and other officials who hunt ! One who is making decisions on culls and/or wildlife conservation management, should not be an avid hunter. That is a direct conflict of interest. Officials who hunt are policing themselves too, does anyone else see a problem here ?

    USFW -Get transparent, don’t attend secretive meetings with SCI, use science when making decisions, make sure officials in authority @ USFW are not hunters, and adopt new operating staff and procedures.

  2. Ian Giles says:

    Dan Ashe must go. Abused his position and is complicit in a lot of killing. It is easy to eliminate apex predators and then claim the need to kill next in line. This is not science, it is evil.
    People have been fooled for far too long. These guys travel the world on our dime, and are lauded as conservationist saviors. Nothing is further from the truth and we need to purge all hunters from conservation.
    Scum of the earth.

    • Connie Brady says:

      Love your comment – I couldn’t have said it better. I didn’t like Dan Ashe from the beginning and now I despise him. I don’t like Sally Jewell either – all she ever does is “smile”.

  3. chris murphy says:

    PLEASE STOP THE HUNTING AND KILLING OF ANIMALS. PEOPLE ARE GETTING RESTLESS AND THEY WILL NO LONGER BE COMPLACENT. THERE WILL BE MORE PROTESTS AND IT WILL NOT STOP UNTIL THE KILLING STOPS

  4. Ian Giles says:

    There must surely be tons of evidence of collusion with Safari Club International, Dallas Safari Club, National Rifle Association and other hunter groups? There should be opportunities to prosecute and clean this up?

  5. Ian Giles says:

    Since this country is so big on prosecuting, why not prosecute them for skewing the data in favor of hunters? There must be tons of evidence of collusion with Safari Club International and Dallas Safari Club?

  6. Ian Giles says:

    It is abundantly evident that there is a major problem.
    The thing about betrayal is that is takes a while to understand what is really going on. This is particularly true when the source of the betrayal and deception comes from individuals or institutions that are presumed to do unquestionable good.
    Conservation organizations are houses of presumed unquestionable good. The problem with that is lack of scrutiny. Conservation organizations do not have the ability to police themselves, and the enticements from hunting organizations and industry are difficult to ignore.
    To all the hunters in state sponsored “conservation organizations”. If you are too greedy or too afraid to conserve, move out and let somebody else do it.

    The USFWS is paid for by US taxpayers, and has NO obligation towards hunters or hunting organizations.

    USFWS must have some good people. Need to purge hunters and empower the good ones. Some good ones have left. And will return when measures are in place to allow conservation.

    Scrub it clean and introduce measures to maintain transparency.
    2.Petition for change in regulations relating to conservation:
    •Removal of hunters from conservation organizations, particularly conservation organizations funded by taxpayers.
    •Intervention by Department of Justice and Office of Inspector General to purge hunters from conservation organizations and implement measures to ensure conservation and end support for hunting organizations. Conservation has no obligation towards sustaining hunting.
    Includes compliance requirements for conservation organizations to:
    •hire a compliance officer/appoint a compliance committee;
    •develop written standards and policies;
    •implement a comprehensive employee training program;
    •retain an independent review organization to conduct annual reviews;
    •establish a confidential disclosure program;
    •requirements for reporting transparency of data sourcing and procedures for listing species as endangered;
    •restrict employment of ineligible persons (hunters);
    •report support for hunting organizations, payments and bribes, reportable events, and ongoing investigations/legal proceedings; and
    •provide an implementation report and annual reports to OIG on the status of the entity’s compliance activities.

    • gloria johnson says:

      and I would add another bullet point.
      * Stop the appointment of developers to wildlife conservation commissions as is the case in Florida.
      Of course the Commissioners claim there is NO CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Yeah right! and that is why there is a huge development coming to the Everglades in the middle of panther territory.

  7. Diana Baumgartner says:

    Stop politics and 0big bucks” from controlling our destinies. Take charge of saving endangered species

  8. Patricia Jones says:

    Animals should be protected at all cost from money grabbing men and politicians should not get involved in these games.

  9. Jeannine Mendrola says:

    Scientists need to be in charge of these decisions not the corrupt politicians. USFWS is a misnomer- it should be USFWES – US Fish and Wildlife Extermination Service.

  10. William D. Anderson, Jr. says:

    Don’t be influenced by the anti-environmental efforts of big money corporations, such as those in the coal, petroleum, and timber industries, who buy politicians all too ready to sacrifice our natural heritage for their own personal gain. Do your job–PROTECT OUR NATURAL RESOURCES.

    • Judith Stahl says:

      In the not-so-distant future, wild horses, another natural resource of our nation, will be
      on the verge of being extinct. They will either be domesticated via auction sales, or slaughtered due to non sales; either way, many end up at auction bought up by kill buyers, as so many people get horses and then cannot keep them.

      The wildfires are growing more numerous and more severe because humans keep removing species from their natural habitat. Big cattle operations are taking over the horses’ grazing land to make more and more money without having to spend as much in overhead, feeding the cattle.

      We have to stop trying to save money, save time, make things “better” for humans, and all the rest of the rhetoric we hear from our government and big businesses. It’s time to protect all species the way we should have protected the Native Americans when we first invaded this continent.

      The time is now.

  11. Mrs. Melissa Polick says:

    I am angered to learn that you are Not being Objective and fair to wild life. It’s pretty simple, We the American people want All of OUR Wildlife – PROTECTED.

    We are WATCHING You as an Agency. Protect OUR Wild life.

  12. Tiffany Baker says:

    Please stop allowing politics to override true scientific research & integrity.

    You should be respecting & enforcing the law, The Endangered Species Act, not compromising for money provided by special interests & corporations who don’t care what the future impact will be.

    Please do the job everyone should be able to trust Fish & Wildlife to do-protect nature & animal survival-instead of contributing to its elimination.

    Current practices are not sustainable.

    Please do the real job that the

  13. tammy bullock says:

    i think there is to much politics in in the protection of our wildlife , and we need to do more tin protecting our wildlife and those in politics need to do less politic and more protecting our wildlife

    • jean publee says:

      usfws has taken away the right of the people – all 325 million of us – to be counted in making decisions on wildlife, the fact is they make decisions by only telling their hunter and ag pals about what they are doing–nobody else so nobody even knows what goes on at this agency. the agency is headed by a known wildlife murderer. so certainly no compassion to animals comes out of this agency, only nastiness, evil and violence. a war on wildlife is going on at this agency.

    • jean publi says:

      usfws is headed by dan ashe a known wildlife murdering hunter. what do you expect when you have a person who enjoyhs killing wildlife for his fun in charge of the agency. this is an awful person to put in this job. this agency shows zero compassion for wildlife and is waging a war on wildlife.

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