Defenders of Wildlife



Introduction


Defenders of Wildlife (DOW) is an American non-profit organization that advocates for wildlife preservation. Defenders of Wildlife staffs over 150 scientists, policy experts and attorneys who work through the media, government, localities and the courts to advance its wildlife preservation agenda.

Defenders of Wildlife is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has field offices located throughout the United States. Defenders of Wildlife also has a sister organization, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.[1] In the 2008 presidential election, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama and ran negative advertisements aimed at the Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.[2]


History / Mission


Originally called Defenders of Furbearers, Defenders of Wildlife was formed in 1947.[3] Defenders of Wildlife has described itself as "dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities."[4] Defenders of Wildlife has described its goals as to "protect and restore America's native wildlife, safeguard habitat, resolve conflicts, work across international borders and educate and mobilize the public."[5]


Work


Defenders of Wildlife keeps the public and its members informed about its work through press releases, its magazine, its blog, its website and public service announcements. Among other projects, the Defenders of Wildlife focuses its efforts on the following issues:

• Wildlife Conservation: According to its website, Defenders of Wildlife has worked to "save a wide variety of North American species, including keystone creatures such as gray wolves, grizzly bears, sea otters and jaguars."[6]

• Habitat Conservation: Defenders of Wildlife "promotes progressive land-use strategies on federal state and private lands that safeguard key habitats such as wetlands, deserts, forests and grasslands from development and degradation."[7]

• Global Warming: Defenders of Wildlife has declared unequivocally that "humans are causing climate change and wildlife and ecosystems are suffering."[8] Defenders of Wildlife works to prevent what is sees as the impact of climate change on animal populations.

• International Conservation: Defenders of Wildlife has an International Program that works to curb global warming, the wildlife trade and the global amphibian decline.[9]

• Conservation Science and Economics: Defenders of Wildlife uses "[e]conomic analyses [to] contribute to policy formulation and the promotion of public and private incentives for landowners to conserve biodiversity."[10]

Critical of Defenders of Wildlife's work, Discover the Networks says "DOW condemns activities it deems destructive to the environment, including logging, ranching, mining, and even the use of recreational motorized vehicles."[11]


Legal Work


The Defenders of Wildlife's legal team litigates cases that, in its opinion, protect species and land. Defenders of Wildlife has been involved in some of the most recognized environmental cases in American history.

• Oil Shale: In January 2009, Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management over its decision to lease land for oil shale development in parts of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.[12] As of November 2011, DOW lists the case as active.[13]

• Arctic Drilling: In January 2008, Defenders of Wildlife filed a lawsuit against the Minerals Management Service (MMS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after MMS decided to open approximately 30 million acres of public land for oil and gas leasing.[14] In April 2009, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the drilling plan.<ref >"Chuckhi Sea," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/chukchi_sea.php as of November 4, 2011.</ref>

• Border Fence: Out of concern for environmental impact, in October 2007, Defenders of Wildlife joined forces with the Sierra Club in an attempt to block the United States from constructing 700 miles of fence along its southwest border with Mexico.[15] Then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chartoff waived the laws in Defenders of Wildlife's complaint under Section 102 of the 2005 REAL ID Act. Defenders of Wildlife then amended its complaint, however, the district court sided with Homeland Security's position. The Supreme Court declined to hear Defenders of Wildlife's complaint.[16]

In the early 1990s, Defenders of Wildlife was a named litigant in a seminal Supreme Court case that helped define the role of standing in the American legal system. Activists from Defenders of Wildlife sought standing because of harm that may have befallen species in foreign countries stemming from a decision by then-Secretary of the Interior Manual Lujan to limit section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act to United States' action. One element of standing is injury in fact. Since the Defenders of Wildlife activists could not meet this legal threshold, they presented a novel legal theory that proffered that any party who has studied endangered animals could file suit. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, in his majority opinion, dismissed Defenders of Wildlife's suit for lack of standing, and stated: "It goes beyond the limit, however, and into pure speculation and fantasy, to say that anyone who observes or works with an endangered species, anywhere in the world, is appreciably harmed by a single project affecting some portion of that species with which he has no more specific connection."[17]


Sarah Palin Advertisements


In 2008, the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund produced an anti-Sarah Palin advertisement campaign. Defenders of Wildlife explained its motivation: "When John McCain chose [Palin] as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund launched a swing state ad campaign to expose her anti-conservation record to the American public."[18] The ads attacked Palin's support for aerial hunting in Alaska and featured gruesome imagery.[19] Ben Smith of Politico called the one of the spots "unusual" and "gruesome."[20]

Even after the 2008 presidential election, Defenders of Wildlife continued its attacks on Palin. It set up an "Eye On Palin" website to track her allegedly "anti-wolf, anti-wildlife agenda."[21] The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund also continued its anti-Palin advertising blitz and teamed up with actress Ashley Judd, who narrated a Defenders of Wildlife commercial. Palin responded to the commercial, saying: "[t]he ad campaign by this extreme fringe group, as Alaskans have witnessed over the last several years, distorts the facts about Alaska's wildlife management programs. These audacious fundraising attempts misrepresent what goes on in Alaska, and I encourage people to learn the facts about Alaska's positive record of managing wildlife for abundance... Shame on the Defenders of Wildlife for twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans struggling with these rough economic times."[22]


Criticism


Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin criticized Defenders of Wildlife's anti-Palin advertising campaign. Malkin wrote, "Palin is a threat not to Alaska's wolves, but to the liberal establishment's wolves. Defenders of Wildlife isn't targeting the ads in states affected by these policies. They're running the Judd-fronted ads across battleground states. It's about electoral interests, not wildlife interests. The eco-Kabuki theater is just plain laughable."[23]

Discover the Networks has pointed out the overtly political nature of some of Defenders of Wildlife's work, explaining, "[i]n the presidential election year of 2004, DOW published at least 14 newsletters critical of the Bush administration. In the aftermath of President Bush's reelection that year, DOW President Rodger Schlickeisen said, 'At Defenders, we have fought a three-year battle to blunt a string of radical environmental attacks by this Administration and we're not about to stop now.'"[24]


Funding


In 2009, Defenders of Wildlife had total revenue of $32,595,370.


Leadership (as of November 2011)


Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO (2009 Compensation, $303,572)
Rodger Schlickeisen, former President (2009 Compensation, $381,387)
Donald Berry, Executive Vice President
Michael Senatore, Vice President Conservation Law


Contact Information


Defenders of Wildlife
National Headquarters
1130 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Telephone: (202) 682-9400
Website: http://www.defenders.org/index_v2.html

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  1. ^ The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's homepage is available at http://www.defendersactionfund.org/ as of January 25, 2012.
  2. ^ "Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund 2008 Election Scorecard," Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, available at http://www.defendersactionfund.org/political_campaigns/DAF_2008_Election_Scorecard.pdf as of January 25, 2012. (See also, "Sarah Palin Advertisements" section infra).
  3. ^ "Our History," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/about_us/history/index.php as of January 25, 2012.
  4. ^ "About Us," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/about_us/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  5. ^ "About Us," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/about_us/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "Wildlife Conservation," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/wildlife_conservation/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "Habitat Conservation," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://mail.aol.com/34290-311/aol-6/en-us/Suite.aspx as of November 4, 2011.
  8. ^ "Climate Change and Wildlife," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/climate_change/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  9. ^ "International Conservation," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/international_conservation/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Conservation Economics," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/science_and_economics/conservation_economics/index.php as of November 4, 2011.
  11. ^ "Defenders of Wildlife (DOW)," Discover the Networks, available at http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7052 as of November 7, 2011.
  12. ^ "Oil Shale on BML Lands," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/oil_shale_on_blm_lands.php as of November 4, 2011.
  13. ^ "Oil Shale on BML Lands," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/oil_shale_on_blm_lands.php as of November 4, 2011.
  14. ^ "Chuckhi Sea," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/chukchi_sea.php as of November 4, 2011.
  15. ^ "Border Fence Construction: San Pedro Riparian NCA," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/border_fence_construction_san_pedro_riparian_nca.php as of November 4, 2011.
  16. ^ "Border Fence Construction: San Pedro Riparian NCA," Defenders of Wildlife, available at http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/in_the_courts/legal_docket/border_fence_construction_san_pedro_riparian_nca.php as of November 4, 2011.
  17. ^ Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504, U.S. 555 (1992), available at http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/90-1424.ZO.html as of January 25, 2012.
  18. ^ "Eye on Palin," Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, available at http://www.eyeonpalin.org/learn_more/index.php as of November 7, 2011.
  19. ^ To view one of the ads, see: "Brutal: Sarah Palin's Record on Aerial Wolf Hunting," available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQobIUE1zTU&feature=player_embedded as of November 4, 2011.
  20. ^ Ben Smith, "Defenders of Wildlife v. Palin: Brutal, September 12, 2008, available at http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0908/Defenders_of_Wildlife_vs_Palin_Brutal.html as of November 4, 2011.
  21. ^ "Eye On Palin," Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, available at http://action.defenders.org/site/PageServer?pagename=c3palin_discoveryupdate as of November 4, 2011.
  22. ^ Lindsay Barnett, "Sarah Palin Strikes Back Against Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund's Ashley Judd Video," Los Angeles Times Blog, February 5, 2009, available at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/02/palin-judd.html as of November 3, 2011.
  23. ^ "Ashley Judd: Clown in Wolf Guardian's Clothing," MichelleMalkin.com February 6, 2009, available at http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/06/ashley-judd-clown-in-wolf-guardians-clothing/ as of November 4, 2011.
  24. ^ "Defenders of Wildlife (DOW)," Discover the Networks, available at http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7052 as of November 7, 2011.