wildlife refuge


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wildlife refuge,

haven or sanctuary for animals; an area of land or of land and water set aside and maintained, usually by government or private organization, for the preservation and protection of one or more species of wildlife.

Types of Refuges

The U.S. Wildlife Refuge System in 1997 comprised more than 520 different areas in all the states, covering over 93 million acres (37.7 million hectares). The system is administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Dept. of the Interior. The service was established in 1940 by consolidation of the Bureau of Biological Survey (est. 1885 in the Dept. of Agriculture) and the Bureau of Fisheries (est. 1871 as an independent office). The work of the service includes biological research, the administration and enforcement of relevant federal legislation, and numerous related projects.

Refuges have been established for big game (e.g., bison, bighorn sheep, and elk), small resident game, waterfowl, and colonial nongame birds (e.g., pelicans, terns, and gulls). By far the most numerous are the waterfowl refuges, which variously supply breeding areas, wintering areas, and resting and feeding areas along major flyways during migration. Although the main purpose of the refuge system is to ensure survival of wildlife by providing suitable cover, food, and protection from humans, many refuges permit hunting and fishing in season and other recreational activities such as hiking, boating, and swimming. Some refuges have been designated wildernesswilderness,
land retaining its primeval character with the imprint of humans minimal or unnoticeable. In the United States, the Wilderness Act of 1964 established the National Wilderness Preservation System with a nucleus of 9 million acres (3.
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 areas.

Refuges have been established by private individuals and societies (the Nature Conservancy and the National Audubon Society are notable for their pioneering conservation work) and by all levels of government. The first state refuge was established by California in 1870; the first federal refuge was Pelican Island in Florida (1903). Other countries throughout the world also maintain parks, refuges, and game preserves. One of the oldest is the vast Kruger National Park (est. 1898) for the preservation of big game in South Africa. In more recent years, nations have established largely or entirely aquatic marine parks, reserves, and other protected areas to help ensure the survival of sea life; some of these encompass enormous areas—several hundred thousand square miles—of ocean.

History

In the United States limited game laws were passed in various states in the late 17th cent., but it was not until after the mid-19th cent. that legislation dealt with the depletion of wildlife. By that time, the populations of many birds and mammals had been alarmingly reduced, and some species had become extinct, chiefly because of the indiscriminate slaughter of animals for feathers and hides, for food, for sport, and also because of the destruction of habitat by the draining of swamps and leveling of forests for farming and human settlement. Modern wildlife conservation policy began with a conference of state governors and other officials called by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to inventory the nation's natural resources; its immediate outcome was the appointment of a national conservation commission, followed shortly by the establishment of similar commissions in most of the states (see conservation of natural resourcesconservation of natural resources,
the wise use of the earth's resources by humanity. The term conservation came into use in the late 19th cent. and referred to the management, mainly for economic reasons, of such valuable natural resources as timber, fish, game, topsoil,
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).

Milestones in early legislation designed to preserve wildlife in the United States were the Lacey Act (1900), regulating imports of and interstate commerce in birds and mammals, and a similar supplementary act for black bass (1926); the establishment (1916) of the National Park Service, which forbids hunting within its parks; international treaties for the protection of migratory birds made by the United States with Canada (1918) and with Mexico (1937); the Norbeck-Andresen Migratory-Bird Conservation Act (1929), which provided for the development of a system of refuges; and an act (1934) requiring hunters of migratory fowl to purchase a stamp and a similar act (1937) establishing a tax on arms and ammunition, the funds raised in both cases to be used for wildlife preservation programs. More recent legislation to protect wildlife has included the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. other antipollution legislation, and the Endangered Species Acts of 1966, 1969, 1973, 1978, 1982, and 1988 (see endangered speciesendangered species,
any plant or animal species whose ability to survive and reproduce has been jeopardized by human activities. In 1999 the U.S. government, in accordance with the U.S.
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).

In 1948 an international conference established the World Conservation Union (now the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources IUCN), the first international organization devoted solely to wildlife conservation and environmental protection. The IUCN was instrumental in convening the meetings that approved (1973) the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES). In connection with CITES more than 350 biosphere reserves have been established in more than 80 countries.

Bibliography

See G. Laycock, The Sign of the Flying Goose: A Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges (1965); R. Murphy, Wild Sanctuaries (1968); D. W. Ehrenfeld, Conserving Life on Earth (1972); N. Grove, Wild Lands for Wildlife (1984).

References in periodicals archive ?
Friends of Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge is sponsoring the Wildlife & Wild Places Photography Contest.
Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge with 48,000 acres.
The Sportsmen's Alliance along with Safari Club International and the Alaska Professional Hunters Association filed suit last year to overturn the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge Rule.
The value to Americans provided by national wildlife refuges was highlighted when US Fish & Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced the agency is proposing to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 13 national wildlife refuges across the United States.
Lance Jacobs: "The Malheur wildlife refuge was created 107 years ago by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The confrontation came amid increasing calls for action against Bundy for the illegal occupation of the wildlife refuge.
In late 2012, land managers once again began to report large larval feeding events, known as brown outs, in areas of Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, and Barley Barber Swamp Conservation Area (pers.
Fish & Wildlife Service and UIC Construction Services have announced that one of its subsidiaries, SIKU Construction, won a $6.1 million contract for design and construction of a new visitor center for the Kenai Wildlife Refuge in Soldotna.
The city is offering a Mile High City safari, which includes Denver Zoo that houses around 4,000 animals, the Wild Animal Sanctuary with 290 lions, tigers and bears, the Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, housing 1,200 free-flying butterflies, the Downtown Aquarium with around 15,000 fish, mammals, and plants, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, which is an urban wildlife refuge and home to 330 species, and the Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve, home to two herds of wild buffalo.
Fish & Wildlife Service will host two public meetings on a proposal to link two national wildlife refuges, the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas and the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana.
Responsibilities: Smith oversees three refuges: Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, a 917-acre bird sanctuary; Hule'ia National Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for endangered wetland birds; and 203-acre Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, which averages 500,000 visitors a year.

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