Aquí tienes una lista de 12 animales emblemáticos de Estados Unidos para la Semana Nacional de los Refugios de Vida Silvestre:

Desde que el presidente Theodore Roosevelt  creó el Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Pelican Island de Florida de manera memorable , los refugios nacionales de vida silvestre han sido una herramienta importante en la lucha contra la pérdida de hábitat y para la conservación de la vida silvestre.

Hoy, bajo la autoridad del Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de EE. UU. (USFWS), el Sistema Nacional de Refugio de Vida Silvestre tiene más de 560 unidades, protegiendo (y en algunos casos restaurando) alrededor de 150 millones de acres como hábitat para miles de especies, muchas amenazadas o en peligro de  extinción . . Los refugios nacionales de vida silvestre se pueden encontrar en todos los estados , lo que comprende un motor económico multimillonario que atrae a decenas de millones de visitantes cada año. Más de 20 millones de acres de estos increíbles paisajes también forman parte del Sistema Nacional de Preservación de Vida Silvestre.

Encuentre un refugio nacional de vida silvestre cerca de usted

Aunque nuestros refugios son invaluables si queremos mantener nuestro patrimonio salvaje, ellos, al igual que otras agencias de conservación y manejo de la tierra, carecen crónicamente de fondos. En 2013, la Semana Nacional del Refugio de Vida Silvestre se canceló debido al cierre del gobierno, un recordatorio de las dificultades que enfrentan nuestras tierras públicas.

Consulte  la base de datos del USFWS  para encontrar refugios donde pueda ver varias especies amenazadas o en peligro de extinción y siga leyendo para obtener una lista de algunas de nuestras faunas más indeleblemente “estadounidenses”, junto con un refugio u otro lugar administrado por el USFWS donde cada uno puede ser visto

1. alce 

Refugio Nacional de Elk (Wyoming)

Un grupo de alces machos resplandecientes dentro del refugio. Crédito: Tony Hough (USFWS), flickr.

Como corresponde a su nombre, cada invierno, el Refugio Nacional de Elk de Wyoming alberga la  manada de 11,000 alces de Jackson , un ejército de ungulados que migra a través de una gran franja de tierra que incluye el Parque Nacional Grand Teton, el Parque Nacional Yellowstone y el Bosque Nacional Bridger-Teton. Una vez relativamente comunes en toda América del Norte, los alces  ahora residen principalmente en el oeste , donde sus  espeluznantes gritos de “corneta”  transmiten información de apareamiento  a todos los que están al alcance del oído.

2. cocodrilo americano

Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Okefenokee (Georgia)

Cocodrilo americano en Okefenokee Wilderness. Crédito: Stacy Shelton (USFWS), flickr.

Georgia’s Okefenokee Wilderness, the third-largest in the continental U.S. that is administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, overlaps almost perfectly with the wildlife refuge of the same name, helping to to safeguard one of the world’s largest intact freshwater ecosystems.

An estimated 200,000 alligators live throughout Georgia (illustrating a major comeback since the species’ 1960s nadir), but despite their fearsome appearance, they have rarely clashed with humans. Of the eight reported cases of alligator attacks in the state between 1980 and 2001, most happened because people stepped on alligators in hiding, startling them and triggering a defensive reaction.

3. Bald eagle

James River National Wildlife Refuge (Virginia)

Bald eagle fishing in Iowa. Credit: Jason Mrachina, flickr.

What list of iconic American species would be complete without the bird that festoons our national emblem, currency and official presidential seal?

As the animals most closely associated with American identity, it is fitting that bald eagles have many homes within the National Wildlife Refuge System—and four refuges created specifically to protect them, including James River National Wildlife Refuge. Though eagle populations have declined in the past due to hunting, accidental poisoning and habitat destruction, the species has made a tremendous recovery over the last few decades, and can now be found throughout the continental U.S. and Alaska.

4. Bison

National Bison Range (Montana)

Bison and calf at Montana’s National Bison Range. Credit: Mike Borgreen (USFWS), flickr.

Perhaps the most iconic mammal in the history of our young country—with a national campaign to back it up—bison have made an astonishing species-wide comeback over the last century, with the help of the National Bison Range. This is a happy success story of a law doing precisely what it was intended to do: President Theodore Roosevelt signed legislation authorizing the purchase of lands for bison conservation in 1908, with the hopes of preserving some trace of the herds that had once roamed the prairies by the tens of millions. The episode was thought to have been the first time Congress had ever put tax revenue toward purchasing land for wildlife conservation.

Roosevelt himself would surely be “dee-lighted” to witness that plan’s outcome; the refuge itself currently hosts a few hundred bison roaming a diverse landscape of grasslands, fir and pine forests and rivers. Thousands more can be found elsewhere in the U.S.—roughly 130 years after they were effectively hunted to extinction.

5. Polar bear

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska)

Polar bear at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Susanne Miller (USFWS), flickr.

The largest land-dwelling carnivores on earth have gained a new and unwelcome notoriety in the last few decades as a species starkly and visibly imperiled by the effects of climate change. For now, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, tucked away in the relatively human-untouched reaches of northeast Alaska, is the only national conservation area where polar bears regularly den, as well as the most-used polar bear land denning area in the state.

The Arctic Refuge hosts a wide variety of other wildlife including caribou, moose, wolverines, musk oxen, brown bears and black bears (The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, in the Aleutian Islands, are the only refuges home to all three major North American bear species).

6. Manatee

Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge (Florida)

Manatees have made strides, but still face a variety of human-caused threats. Credit: Jim Reid (USFWS), flickr.

The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refugecovering over 31,000 acres of saltwater bays, estuaries and brackish marshes, is mostly protected as wilderness, making it an important safe zone for a species that has benefited greatly from conservation efforts since the 1970s, but remains vulnerable to human-caused habitat loss, boat collisions and other threats.

Whether or not this placid coastal river- and estuary-dweller is truly the inspiration for mermaid tales of yore, the West Indian manatee is uniquely beloved, a flagship species for the state of Florida. Like some human inhabitants, the “sea cow” typically spends winters in and around the state, straying west and north when it warms up (in one famous case, the same manatee was spotted in the Chesapeake Bay twice, 17 years apart).

7. Moose

Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge (Alaska)

A moose at rest. Credit: Stephen Chase, flickr.

When an 18th century French scientist posited that all North American species were diminished or “degenerate” due to the continent’s cold climate, future president Thomas Jefferson was piqued. However, he knew that one piece of physical evidence would utterly ruin the man’s theory: the huge, imposing moose.

That Jefferson used the largest member of the deer family to illustrate the “New World’s” robust natural bounty is only fitting. Moose have become a proud emblem of the northern United States, with the largest population by far found in Alaska. Moose are especially abundant in the massive Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, a central chunk of which is protected as wilderness. Recent years have seen moose in other states fall prey to hordes of ticks as the climate warms, making this pocket of northern shelter all the more vital to the broader survival of the species.

8. California condor

Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (California)

A California condor at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Scott Flaherty (USFWS), flickr.

Though its name became nearly synonymous with “endangered species” in the 1990s, the California condor is fighting its way back from the brink thanks to a concerted recovery effort that has seen the reported population more than double since 2003. But despite progress, only a few hundred birds remain in the wild, and they face many threats.

Bitter Creek National Wildlife RefugeHopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, and other protected public lands like Pinnacles National Park are especially important for their survival, as condors tend to do better in areas where human intrusion and development are strictly limited. Bald-headed and jowly, these scavengers are not conventionally beautiful, but their presence bespeaks a dinosaur-like mystique, and any birdwatcher would be extremely fortunate to see one in the flesh.

9. Grizzly bear

Swan River National Wildlife Refuge (Montana)

A group of grizzlies in Wyoming. Credit: Ture Schultz (USFWS), flickr.

Modern grizzly populations are only a fraction of what they were when Lewis and Clark first traveled to the coast—only 1,000 to 2,000 remain in the continental U.S., with significantly more in Alaska—but these muscular beasts still enjoy an outsize place in the mythology of the American west.

Among the places where they can still be found are the Swan and Mission Mountain Ranges, which have been designated as a habitat corridor. They can also sometimes be spotted foraging in the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge, Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and others during the spring. Imposing reputation notwithstanding, the USFWS considers grizzlies to be threatened.

10. Pronghorn antelope

Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (Arizona)

Sonoran pronghorns at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: USFWS.

subspecies of the pronghorn, the Sonoran pronghorn is both smaller and less plentiful than its cousin: it is estimated that only 160 free-ranging Sonoran pronghorns remain in the U.S., with another 240 in northern Mexico, even after a successful captive breeding program.

That program was launched at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, which has been managed for wildlife—originally as a “game range”—for about 75 years, and now focuses on pronghorns, bighorn sheep and lesser long-nosed bats. A wilderness area of the same name covers nearly all of this big, rugged stretch of desert, offering ample space for the fleet-footed “prairie ghosts” for which it is best known, among the first species to gain protection under the Endangered Species Act.

11. Sandhill crane

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (New Mexico)

A pair of sandhill cranes in flight at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Howard Ignatius, flickr.

The Rocky Mountain population of sandhill cranes spends its winters in New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, which contains thousands of acres of marsh and grasslands including three different wilderness areas. This spectacle, along with a great variety of other birds and wildlife, has made the area a popular tourist attraction from November to FebruarySandhill cranes are instantly recognizable due to their size—with wingspans that may approach six feet—and red “caps.”

12. Bighorn sheep

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Arizona)

Desert bighorns at Grand Canyon National Park. Credit: Mark Lellouch (NPS), flickr.

El Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre de Kofa , la  mayoría del cual está designado como desierto , protege una de las poblaciones más grandes de borrego cimarrón del desierto de Arizona (una  subespecie del borrego cimarrón ), estimada en  más de 400 individuos .

Gracias a los esfuerzos de conservación, los borregos cimarrones en partes del oeste de los EE. UU. se han recuperado recientemente  después de años de deterioro, y algunos incluso han sido reintroducidos en áreas donde la especie se extinguió anteriormente. Dondequiera que los encuentre, son una vista impresionante: excelentes corredores que pueden escalar pendientes empinadas y empinadas con una gracia que desmiente su tamaño y poder físico.

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