Environmental Issues: Wildlife
All Documents in Wildlife
- Polar Bears on the Precipice
Commercial International Trade of Polar Bears is Affecting Their Chances of Survival
- The polar bear's best chance of survival in the wild through the end of the century -- a timeframe in which it is possible to stabilize anthropogenic climate change -- is in Canadian territory. Yet Canada is the only country in the world where polar bears are hunted for international commercial trade.
- Reform Wildlife Services' Predator Control
Why does the government continue to kill public wildlife for private interests?
- Wildlife Services spends over $100 million annually to kill more than one million animals. Some of its work, such as preventing bird strikes at airports and controlling the spread of rabies, benefits the public interest, but its current predator control program damages the environment and wastes taxpayer dollars.
- Wild Things
- Progressive ranchers are rejecting the old practice of slaughtering large carnivores to protect livestock. Instead, they are using new technology and old methods of animal husbandry to coexist with carnivores.
- Fuzzy Math
Wildlife Services Should Improve Its Economic Analysis of Predator Control
- About 100,000 coyotes, bobcats, foxes, wolves, bears, and mountain lions are killed each year by Wildlife Services, a U.S. Department of Agriculture federal agency. Much of this lethal predator control program is partly justified by economic analyses that are often incomplete, and sometimes incorrect.
- Non-Lethal Methods to Prevent Conflicts Between Predators and Livestock
- Every year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program kills thousands of predators as a taxpayer-funded subsidy to the livestock industry, using controversial and inhumane methods such as poisons and aerial gunning. Wildlife Services largely ignores the many non-lethal ways to prevent conflicts between predators and livestock. In fact, a small, but growing number of ranchers are turning away from Wildlife Services’ “sledgehammer” approach and emphasizing non-lethal conflict-prevention techniques because they recognize that predators are an integral part of the landscapes where they ranch. Get document in pdf.
- Sharing the Range
A Place for Wild Bison on Today’s Landscape
- Tens of millions of wild plains bison once roamed the grasslands of North America, but the slaughter of the late 1800s so devastated the famous herds that at one time only a few dozen animals remained in the wild, tucked away in a remote valley in Yellowstone National Park. Though they have since bounced back from the brink of extinction, today the vast majority of bison in the United States are raised as livestock on private property. But there is great potential for restoring wild bison to the landscape, and living with bison is possible. The Natural Resources Defense Council believes it is time to recover bison as a wildlife species and give wild bison more habitat—room to roam in the American West. Get document in pdf.
- The Gulf’s Dolphin Die-Off
- Researchers found that bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, Louisiana, an area that was heavily exposed to oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, were underweight and anemic, with suppressed immune systems and signs of liver and lung disease. In this fact sheet, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) compares the new mortalities to prior strandings of Gulf dolphins and probes their connection to the BP spill.
- Arctic Wildlife Refuge: Why Trash an American Treasure for a Tiny Percentage of Our Oil Needs?
Drilling for oil in America's premier wildlife sanctuary would deface the pristine landscape and threaten Alaskan wildlife.
- Drilling for oil in America's premier wildlife sanctuary would deface the pristine landscape and threaten Alaskan wildlife.
- Birds at Risk
The Importance of Canada's Boreal Wetlands and Waterways
- This report looks at three natural areas in the boreal forest that are critical for birds, but that are coming under pressure from industry, hydropower, and climate change. We discuss some strong policy steps governments must take in order to protect the watery forest and the great biodiversity of birds it supports.
- Anti-Environmental Budget Riders
A significant assault on health and environmental protection is underway in Congress.
- Lawmakers must pass 12 spending bills for fiscal 2012 to fund the government, and some House Republicans are seizing this opportunity to jam through unpopular anti-environmental policies that have nothing to do with spending.
- The Ecological Importance of Predators
- Predators have profound effects throughout their ecosystems. Regrettably, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services ignores the positive role that predators play in their surrounding habitat, and has a long history of persecuting predators, considered competitors for game animals and threats to livestock and agriculture. As a result, in many areas,large predators have been eliminated entirely and most of these species now occupy only a fraction of their historical distribution. Get document in pdf.
- Why We Need Bees
Nature's Tiny Workers Put Food on Our Tables
- Many people think of bees simply as a summertime nuisance. But these small and hard-working insects actually make it possible for many of your favorite foods to reach your table. From apples to almonds to the pumpkin in our pumpkin pies, we have bees to thank. Now, a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder is causing bee populations to plummet, which means these foods are also at risk. Get document in pdf.
- End Commercial Whaling
Renegade whale hunting threatens the survival of endangered species around the world
- Whales are still being killed across the world's oceans -- despite an international ban on commercial whaling -- by countries that exploit loopholes and label their hunts as "scientific research."
- Laguna San Ignacio Gray Whale Nursery
- Laguna San Ignacio in Baja California, Mexico is best known as winter home to the gray whale. Every year the whales migrate over 10,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds above the Arctic Circle to the waters along the west coast of the Baja peninsula, where they have adopted the warm, shallow lagoons for their calving nurseries. Here they spend the months of December to March birthing, feeding their calves, breaching, and spyhopping.
- The Birds of Hawaii's Hakalau Forest
- Hawaii's Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge protects endangered birds and their rainforest habitat. This photo gallery contains images of nine of Hakalau's unique forest birds.
- Global Warming Kills Whitebark Pines, Threatening Mountain Ecosystems
Millions of dying whitebark pine trees could be disastrous for the delicate ecosystem that supports grizzlies, birds and Western water supplies.
- Millions of dying whitebark pine trees could be disastrous for the delicate ecosystem that supports grizzlies, birds and Western water supplies.
- New Science Shows the Extent of Dying Whitebark Pine
Groundbreaking survey reveals the harsh truth about the decline of this hardy tree and the mountain wildlife that depends on it.
- A groundbreaking survey reveals the harsh truth about the decline of this hardy tree and the mountain wildlife that depends on it.
- Saving Whitebark Pine: What You Can Do
A network of citizen scientists is helping gather crucial data in the fight to save whitebark pine and the mountain ecosystem it anchors.
- A network of citizen scientists is helping gather crucial data in the fight to save whitebark pine and the mountain ecosystem it anchors.
- Go Below the Surface of the Gulf Oil Disaster
An interactive guide to the Gulf spill's effects on one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world
- It appears that only a fraction of the millions of gallons of crude oil that have flooded into the Gulf of Mexico rises to the surface. A lot of the oil remains dissolved or dispersed in the Gulf’s waters, contaminating one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world. Go below the surface of the Gulf oil disaster with this interactive graphic.
- Polar Bears on Thin Ice
- Perfectly at home in one of the world’s most forbidding environments, most polar bears drift along the Arctic on large chunks of floating ice, finding mates and hunting for seals. Without these thick rafts of sea ice, the world’s largest bear will not survive. Yet at this moment, the polar bear’s Arctic abitat is literally melting away beneath it due to global warming. The polar bear is also under pressure from industrial development and toxic chemicals. Over-hunting and commercial trade in polar bear body parts are making these threats worse. The international community must take swift action to protect the polar bear from global warming and commercial trade. The polar bear's Arctic habitat is rapidly disappearing due to global warming. The international community must take action to protect the polar bear from global warming and other man-made threats. Get document in pdf.
- Grizzly Bears in Danger
Climate change and unbridled industrialization could push an icon of the American West back to the brink of extinction
- In the wake of a tough legal battle, Yellowstone grizzly bears and their habitat are once again protected under the Endangered Species Act. But as global warming and runaway development take a mounting toll on grizzly habitat, these bears are facing an uncertain future.
- Invasive Species Threaten Native Ecosystems
- Some of these things just don't belong here -- invasive species are living pollution that can hurt fisheries, degrade water quality and otherwise disrupt nature's balance.
- Crisis for Yellowstone's Buffalo
America’s last wild, free-roaming herd is threatened by “hazing” from ATVs and helicopters
- Every spring, the bison of Yellowstone National Park get "hazed" back into park territory by rangers swooping down in helicopters, on horseback and riding ATVs. Hazing is disruptive and devastating to the buffalo, and many bison, including newborns, are needlessly killed in the process.
- Make Your Garden Bee-Safe
Honey bees are disappearing across the country, putting $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and vegetables at risk
- Bees across the country are disappearing from a mysterious condition know as Colony Collapse Disorder, but you can help keep these important pollinators healthy by attracting them to your garden with these helpful tips.
- Protecting Wolves in the American West
Removing Endangered Species Act protections threatens the survival of Northern Rocky Mountain wolves.
- To many Americans, wolves represent wild nature that has been lost in many parts of the country. These magnificent animals are once again at risk. The Bush Administration's proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protections -- to "delist" wolves -- threatens to return Northern Rocky Mountain wolves to the brink of extinction by allowing states to kill more than 60 percent of the current wolf population. NRDC recommends action at both the state and federal levels to maintain the long-term health of wolves in the Northern Rockies. Get document in pdf.
- Rule Protecting National Forest Wildlands Is Vindicated in Court
The Roadless Area Conservation Rule preserves America's unspoiled wilderness, but it's under assault
- In December 2002, a federal appeals court lifted a stay on the implementation of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a landmark forest-conservation measure that the timber industry and its allies have fought tooth and nail. Will the Bush administration enforce it, or undermine it?
- Protecting Whales from Dangerous Sonar
NRDC takes the U.S. military to court to save marine mammals from underwater noise
- NRDC has been fighting for more than a decade for prudent safeguards that would protect whales and other marine mammals from military sonar exercises -- eventually taking the fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Give Swordfish a Break
Conservation campaign helped restore North Atlantic swordfish and provided an example for future efforts.
- After a two-and-a-half-year campaign led by NRDC and SeaWeb to restore swordfish populations in the north Atlantic, the federal government in August 2000 announced measures to protect juvenile north Atlantic swordfish from fishing.
- Danger in the Nursery
Impact of Tar Sands Oil Development in Canada’s Boreal on Birds
- Each spring more than half of America's birds flock to the Canadian Boreal forest to nest. There, tens of millions of birds -- as many as 500 breeding pairs per square mile of forests, lakes, river valleys, and wetlands -- spend the winter. Yet almost all the biggest oil companies are mining and drilling important Boreal forest and wetlands to access thick, low-grade petroleum.
- Whale Songs in the City
Whales have been recorded singing near New York harbor, but noise pollution and shipping traffic put them at risk
- Whales have been recorded singing near New York harbor, but noise pollution puts them at risk.
- Lethal Sounds
The use of military sonar poses a deadly threat to whales and other marine mammals
- Whales and other marine mammals face a grave threat from military sonar and other noise in the oceans. Manmade sound waves can drown out the noises that marine mammals rely on for their very survival, causing serious injury and even death.
- Vanishing Bees
Honey bees are disappearing across the country, putting $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and vegetables at risk
- Without bees to pollinate many of our favorite fruits and vegetables, the United States could lose $15 billion worth of crops -- not to mention what it would do to your diet. Colony collapse disorder is decimating honey bee colonies across the nation, yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture has failed to aggressively address the problem.
- Fish Out of Water
How Water Management in the Bay-Delta Threatens the Future of California's Salmon Fishery
- This July 2008 issue paper examines the operation of water management projects in California as one of the most significant -- and reversible -- causes of fishery collapse and provides comprehensive policy recommendations for restoring and sustaining this treasured resource.
- Trout in Trouble
The Impacts of Global Warming on Trout in the Interior West
- Global warming is the single greatest threat to the survival of trout in America's interior west. If nothing is done to reduce human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, the primary culprit behind global warming, trout habitat in the Rocky Mountain region could be reduced by 50 percent or more by the end of the century, bringing serious economic consequences for those whose livelihoods depend on the fishing, recreation, and tourism industry.
- Safeguarding Alaska's Arctic Wilderness
- Oil and gas drilling, coal mining and invasive development are combining with global warming's effects to wreak havoc on Alaska's vast, remote Arctic landscape. NRDC is working with Alaskan Native communities to protect this wilderness area and the whales, bears and other diverse wildlife that depend on it.
- Global Warming Threatens Wildlife
Climate change threatens species from your backyard to the Arctic.
- Global warming is pushing wildlife over the brink. From melting sea-ice throughout the Arctic to increases in infectious diseases and loss of food, evidence of the impacts of global warming on wildlife is mounting. This index collects fact sheets on global warming's effects on threatened species.
- Porpoise in Peril
Help protect the most endangered small marine mammal in the world
- NRDC is working to prevent the extinction of the vaquita marina (Phocoena sinus), the world’s smallest porpoise and now its most endangered small marine mammal. The main threat to vaquitas is the accidental entanglement in nets set for fish and shrimp that is exported from Mexico to U.S. consumers. Immediate action must be taken to protect this critically endangered porpoise. Get document in pdf.
- Yellowstone's Grizzlies Still Need Protection
NRDC issue briefings and fact sheets explain why removing Yellowstone's grizzlies from the endangered species list puts bears in jeopardy.
- NRDC issue briefings and fact sheets explain why removing Yellowstone's grizzlies from the endangered species list puts bears in jeopardy.
- Sounding the Depths II
The Rising Toll of Sonar, Shipping and Industrial Ocean Noise on Marine Life
- Ocean noise produced by military sonar, oil and gas exploration, and shipping traffic can have impacts on marine life ranging from long-term behavioral change to hearing loss to death. This November 2005 NRDC report reviews the science, surveys the leading contributors to the problem, and suggest what might be done to reduce the impacts of noise on the sea -- before the proliferation of noise sources makes the problem unmanageable.
- Wildlife on the Brink
- The Endangered Species Act is the best tool we have to ensure that future generations will inherit a nation of soaring forests, redrock canyons, lumbering grizzlies and tiny songbirds. Without its protections, we risk losing hundreds of species of plants and animals across the nation to pollution and private development. See our photo gallery of endangered wildlife and learn about the terrain they need to survive.
- Lethal Sounds
- Video about Whales and Active Sonar, Narrated by Pierce Brosnan.
- Grizzly Bears in Peril
- The plan to remove protections for Yellowstone grizzlies threatens their long-term survival.
- Arctic Refuge 101: Fact Sheets
- Get informed about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's extraordinary wilderness and wildlife, the damage oil development has caused in neighboring areas of Alaska's North Slope, and better ways we can meet our energy needs.
- An Alternative Path to Grizzly Recovery in the Lower 48 States
- This May 2004 NRDC policy paper outlines a practical plan for restoring grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states by preserving grizzly habitat, anticipating and resolving conflicts between humans and bears and increasing public participation in grizzly protection. The paper presents an alternative to the current U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plan for grizzly protecton.
- Keeping Oceans Wild
How Marine Reserves Protect Our Living Seas
- Marine reserves are like national parks, and they are critical to keeping the world's oceans healthy and productive. This NRDC report demonstrates how placing important ocean areas off-limits is already reaping tremendous benefits, and shows how each of us can participate in protecting marine life and habitat for the future.
- Priority Ocean Areas for Protection in the Mid-Atlantic: Findings of NRDC's Marine Habitat Workshop
- In September 2000, NRDC organized a workshop that brought scientists together to identify specific priority ocean areas in the mid-Atlantic for protection. This report summarizes the results of the scientific workshop in order to foster better understanding, management, and protection of marine species and habitat in federal waters of the mid-Atlantic. The report includes maps reflecting priority areas recommended by each participating scientist.
- Whale Nursery Saved
An NRDC-led coalition stopped Mitsubishi from building a saltworks at Laguna San Ignacio.
- Mitsubishi and the Mexican government announced on March 2, 2000 that they are abandoning plans to build a massive industrial salt plant in southern Baja California. The Mexican government had proposed to construct the saltworks in partnership with the Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan at Laguna San Ignacio, the last undisturbed birthing and nursery grounds of the gray whale.
- Mission to Laguna San Ignacio
Face-to-face with the gray whales at a threatened nursery.
- Getting this close to a gray whale is rare for anyone, but for those on this special journey -- including actors Pierce Brosnan and Glenn Close -- living with the magnificent gray whales for five days touched them deeply, and in some cases changed their lives.
For additional policy documents, see the NRDC Document Bank.
For older publications available only in print, click here.
Sign up for NRDC's online newsletter
NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs
- Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
- Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
- NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.
- Wildlife Killing Exposé Goes on the Road
- posted by Melissa Waage, 6/18/13
- National Wolf Delisting: Too Much, Too Soon
- posted by Sylvia Fallon, 6/7/13
- Protecting Eagles While Working to Guide Wind Development
- posted by Katie Umekubo, 5/20/13