Wildlife and Other Animals

Find out where to get answers to common questions about wildlife and other animals in your community.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts and Endangered Species

In the 1970s, many of the nation’s native plants and animals were in danger of becoming extinct. The United States government passed two conservation laws, the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, to aid in the recovery of at-risk species.

Threatened and Endangered species

“Endangered” species face extinction throughout all or a significant portion of their range. “Threatened” species are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. See which species are threatened or endangered and learn their status:

  • Mammals and freshwater species are added or removed from the list as their status changes. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is responsible for monitoring the progress made to protect species.

  • Marine species are monitored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

  • Search the plant species database, managed by the Department of Agriculture (USDA), to learn about federal and state-identified threatened and endangered plants in your state.

Conservation and Protection Efforts

There are many federal and state programs working toward the conservation of wildlife and the recovery of endangered species:

Get Involved in Conservation

There are many ways you can help:

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National Wildlife Refuges

The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) administers a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States. The NWRS:

Locate a Refuge

To find a wildlife refuge near you, visit the national wildlife refuge locator.

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Report Animal Abuse and Neglect

If you witness animal abuse or neglect, or if you suspect that someone harmed an animal, use the following information to choose the correct authorities to investigate and resolve the situation:

Domestic Animals (dogs, cats, etc.)

Contact your local police department (the non-emergency office, not 911), animal shelter, and/or humane society. You can find their numbers in your local telephone directory. 

Wild Animals

Contact your local police department and/or state or territorial fish and wildlife agency.

Endangered Species

Contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Law Enforcement office.

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Report a Dead, Abandoned, or Injured Animal

Report Dead Fish and Wildlife

Abandoned or Injured Animal

Wildlife

If you find a young animal, do not assume it has been abandoned. Often, the parents are just out hunting or feeding. Wait at least four hours for the parent to return before taking action.

Once you are certain that the wild animal is abandoned, or immediately in the case of an injured wild animal, you can contact the following offices for help with finding a rehabilitator:

If you see an animal, such as a black bear or cougar, that is out of its normal territory or has some abnormality, contact your state fish and wildlife office.

Domestic Animals

If you find an abandoned or injured domestic animal, such as a dog or a cat, call your local animal shelter or humane society. You can find their number online or in your local telephone directory.

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Eagle Feathers and Parts

The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act made it illegal for anyone to collect eagles, their feathers, or parts without a permit.

Get a Permit 

Only enrolled members of a federally-recognized Native American tribe can get a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) National Eagle Repository to receive eagle feathers and parts for religious and cultural purposes.

Report Illegal Possession

Contact a regional FWS Office of Law Enforcement to report the illegal possession of eagles, their feathers, or parts.

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Last Updated: May 25, 2017

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