Defenders of wildlife is a non-profit organization in the United States founded for the conservation of wildlife.
The organization works to protect plants and animals in their natural habitats native to North America. They help safeguard wildlife habitat and biodiversity, fostering positive relationships between animals and plants.
The organization was founded in 1947 and was initially called defenders of furbearers. This was because it was initially founded for wild animals only, but now their work has broadened to wildlife in general, including wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Yet, protecting wild animals, especially large carnivores, remains their primary objective.
This organization’s headquarters is situated in Washington, D.C, under the leadership of their current president and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark. She is known to be an expert on the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The defenders of wildlife are famous for their campaign called “Eye on Palin,” in 2009, and their lawsuit against the federal government.
Sarah Palin, the Alaskan governor, supported aerial hunting of wolves, and the non-profit group felt like they should step in to “save” these animals.
They had started the campaign against it, but when the federal government claimed ESA did not apply to projects outside the United States, they filed suit against them.
It was a brave move, but unfortunately for the defenders of wildlife, the United States’ Supreme Court ruled against the Defenders of Wildlife suit because they lacked standing.
The organization is widely and globally recognized and awarded for fighting for what they believed is right.
Aims of Defenders of Wildlife
The gathering of two or more people must have a purpose, and they are to work until the objectives have been achieved.
The defenders of non-profit wildlife organization was founded on the following objectivities.
Protecting endangered Species
Many animals have gone extinct, especially wildlife. Defenders of wildlife have therefore made it their aim to protect and prevent species from going extinct.
They do this by raising awareness for species under threat. They achieve this by influencing local, state, and federal policies and laws, especially the Endangered Species Act, in their favor.
The organization has already identified specific species that contribute immensely to their ecosystems while serving as ambassadors and advocates of wildlife species.
The specific species may include wolves, bees, bats, sea turtles, Sonoran pronghorn, sharks, mussels, black-footed ferrets, desert tortoises, grizzly bears, parrots, wolverines, gopher tortoises, amphibians, whales, etc.
Endangered Species Act
In 2017, defenders of wildlife organizations launched the Center for Conservation Innovation (CCI) to promote how they converse endangered species in the United States.
Based on their leadership on the Endangered Species Act, they use technology, data, and interdisciplinary methods to develop innovative solutions to their conservation problems.
The defenders of wildlife organization works to protect important habitat of wildlife from harmful human activities such as mining, deforestation, etc. especially public lands designated for wildlife conservation
Their job also includes working with on other federal public lands and waters and private lands owners on endangered wildlife habitat. This is to intervene in such lands that could be affected by human activities.
Already, the defenders of wildlife have identified specific landscapes of unique importance for wildlife conservation. These landscapes may include southern Alaska, the Arctic, Cascadia, the Sierra Nevada, the Mojave, Sky Islands, the Northern Rockies, the Sagebrush Sea, the Northern Plains, the Southern, etc.
They believe that this earth that houses all living and non-living things is meant to be shared, and thus, they should be a healthy coexistence. Therefore, they focus on addressing conflicts between co-existing creatures such as humans and other animals.
They view this as their primary aim, and so far, they have been fostering positive interactions between animals, especially between predators and livestock. They have successfully developed non-violent tools and ways of dealing with wildlife.
Combating Climate Change
This non-profit organization works hand in hand with wildlife and natural resource managers to address the effect of climate change. Together, they also map out coping strategies to help improve the already established conservation plans to help sustain wildlife.
Advocating for International Species
The defenders of wildlife work internationally, advocating for wildlife species that are threatened by illegal wildlife and wildlife trafficking.