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GLIN==> Controlled Propagation Policy Published

September 20, 2000  Hugh Vickery 202-208-5634


The Interior Department's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce
Department's National Marine Fisheries Service today issued a joint policy
on controlled propagation, providing guidance and consistency in programs
that involve captive, or controlled, reproduction of endangered and
threatened animals and plants.

The policy supports the controlled propagation of threatened and endangered
species when recommended in recovery plans developed under the Endangered
Species Act and when efforts to recover species or reduce threats to
populations in the wild are insufficient.

"Captive propagation has been vital to the recovery of animals such as
black-footed ferrets, Karner blue butterflies, and California condors and a
number of  plant species such as the Hawaiian silverswords," said Jamie
Rappaport Clark, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "This
policy represents another step in ensuring that the endangered species
program is grounded in the best available science."

The joint policy states that controlled propagation may be used to prevent
extinction, maintain genetic health, and hold plants and animals on a
temporary basis until threats to their habitats are alleviated. Controlled
propagation is also a useful tool for establishing new, self- sustaining
populations, supplementing or enhancing wild populations and holding
offspring of listed species for part of their development if suitable
natural conditions do not exist.

The policy does not alter protections already provided through the
Endangered Species Act for listed plants and animals.

"This policy clarifies the agency's position on controlled propagation as a
recovery and conservation tool for native listed species, emphasizing the
need to take a cautious approach when considering its use," said Penny
Dalton, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

The private sector has been extensively involved in controlled propagation
partnerships for endangered and threatened species. For example, member
institutions of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and the member
botanical gardens and arboreta of the Center for Plant Conservation have
played important roles in preventing the extinction of native species
through controlled propagation programs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System which encompasses 525 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services
field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds
of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to
state fish and wildlife agencies.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and
preserving the nation's living marine resources through scientific
research, fisheries management, enforcement, and habitat conservation.
The agency is responsible for enforcing federal marine species laws such as
the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.  The
National Marine Fisheries Service is also a leading voice for commercial
and recreational fisheries and continues to focus its efforts on sustaining
the nation's marine resources. From the Gulf of Maine, to the Gulf of
Mexico, and to the Gulf of Alaska, NOAA Fisheries scientists and managers
work to ensure sustainable fish harvests; they are the stewards of our
nation's living marine resources and their habitats.

                                  - FWS -

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Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
information should be directed to the person listed as the
contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Mitch Snow
(Mitch_Snow@fws.gov) in the Office of Public Affairs.

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