Defenders of Wildlife

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Defenders of Wildlife
Founded 1947
Focus protection of all native animals and plants
Area served
United States
Method education, advocacy

Defenders of Wildlife is a 501(c)(3) non-profit conservation organization based in the United States. Its mission is to protect all animals and plants native to North America in their natural communities."[1]


Founded in 1947, Defenders of Wildlife is a major national conservation organization dedicated to conserving wildlife, protecting their natural habitats, and safeguarding biodiversity. Operationally, Defenders of Wildlife has a three-pronged approach:

1. On the ground at the state and local level, Defenders is involved in developing programs that protect and restore key species and habitats.

2. Defenders works with state, national, and international policy makers to secure laws and policies that protect animals and their habitats.

3. Defenders is active in the courts establishing legal safeguards for native wildlife and fighting efforts to roll back environmental protections.

Organization goals[edit]

Defenders' goal is to conserve the full range of vulnerable North American biodiversity, from plants and pollinators to predators. The organization operates from the premise that it cannot protect any species without simultaneously protecting the diversity of wildlife and habitats on which it relies. Wildlife has the greatest chance of thriving in security if it is supported by a transnational network of public and private lands, rivers and coastal waters, core natural areas, and working landscapes..

Related organizations[edit]

Its sister organization, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, lobbies and works to influence legislative action directly.[2]


In 2009, Defenders of Wildlife announced a new media campaign named "Eye on Palin". The campaign focused on what the group termed the "extreme anti-conservation policies" of the Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, in particular, her support of the aerial hunting of wolves. In response to it, Governor Palin put out a statement calling Defenders of Wildlife an "extreme fringe group" defending her "predator control program". She attacked the non-profit group for allegedly "twisting the truth in an effort to raise funds from innocent and hard-pressed Americans". [3]

The organization filed suit against the federal government when it claimed that the Endangered Species Act did not apply to government projects outside the United States. In Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Defenders of Wildlife suit lacked standing.


Defenders of Wildlife was listed as one of the best wildlife charities in 2006 by the magazine Reader's Digest.[4]


External links[edit]