Wildlife Conservation

Today, more than one-third of all U. S. species are in troublefrom bison to butterflies and from bighorn sheep to bumblebees. The National Wildlife Federation works to not only stop the decline of American wildlife populations, but to increase their numberseven as wildlife adjust to a warming world.

Reversing Wildlife Declines

On Capitol Hill, we work every year to secure conservation funding in the federal budget and to defend landmark laws, such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and to pass new ones, such as the Great American Outdoors Act

We have programs in places to help specific species, such as red wolves, mule deer, monarch butterflies, manatees, and the greater sage-grouse, and we work to restore bison to key Tribal and public lands in the West.

Protecting Endangered Species

Fifty years after the passage of the Endangered Species Act, more than 1,600 U.S. plants and animals remain federally listed as threatened or endangered and protected under the law, while roughly 50 species have recovered and been removed from the list.

The National Wildlife Federation has long been focused on protecting the most vulnerable of our wild species. We are committed to defending, strengthening, funding, and ensuring effective implementation of the Endangered Species Act.

Funding Local Wildlife Efforts

The crisis facing wildlife is accelerating and the National Wildlife Federation believes states, territories and Tribes are key players as we work to prevent extinctions and recover at-risk wildlife.

We are leaders in the effort to pass the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. If passed, this will be the most important wildlife conservation legislation in fifty years. It would provide $1.3 billion annually to the states and territories which collectively identify 12,000 species of greatest conservation need and outline the steps necessary to restore habitat and recover the species at risk. The bill will also provide the first source of consistent conservation funding$97.5 million a yearto federally-recognized Tribes who manage wildlife on tens of millions of acres of land.

Connecting Habitats

Wildlife need to move to survive, but their habitats are increasingly separated by barriers like roads, fences, and energy infrastructure. We work to connectand reconnecthabitats and migration routes across the country. For example, the National Wildlife Federation’s Save LA Cougars campaign led efforts to create support and find funding for a wildlife bridge across Highway 101 for Southern California’s mountain lions.

Combating Invasive Species & Emerging Diseases

Invasive species—which further disturb the health of already stressed ecosystems—along with threats like widespread habitat loss are some of the greatest threats to native wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation promotes efforts to address invasive species and prevent their spread. This includes invasive carp, which pose a huge threat to wildlife in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The National Wildlife Federation also works to prevent the introduction of new invasive species, for example by advocating for restrictions around the release of ballast water from ships, which introduce invasive species into our waterways.

Furthermore, wildlife and people are experiencing growing threats from wildlife diseases. We champion efforts to monitor and mitigate these diseases, such as the bipartisan Chronic Wasting Disease Research and Management Act, which was signed into law at the end of 2022.

Our History

The National Wildlife Federation’s first priority after its founding in 1936 was to push for legislation that paired dedicated resources and sound scientific wildlife management of game species. This initial victory—the 1937 Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (also called ‘Pittman-Robertson’)—led to the recovery of dozens of birds and mammals and propelled our work over the following decades to secure funding for sportfish, protect endangered species, and improve the quality of our water, soil, and air.  The National Wildlife Federation now has nearly nine decades of experience working on Capitol Hill and throughout the country to ensure wildlife thrive.

Ask Congress to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Speak up for wildlife! 

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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Regional Centers and Affiliates