Northern Pintail in Malheur NWR. Credit: USFWS
The following is a statement by David Houghton, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association:
“We’re relieved to finally see the occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge come to an end. The FBI, local law enforcement and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should be commended for a peaceful resolution, despite threats of violence from the four remaining occupants. These criminals will now be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, as they should.
The work to restore Malheur can now begin, but it will not be quick or easy. With threats of booby-traps and videotaped evidence of damage to roads, fences and other refuge property, the effort to assess and repair the damages will be extensive.
Today, as we express our relief, we should also reflect on this episode, and consider how we got here, and ways we can come together in every community to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
America’s national wildlife refuges are public lands we all cherish, whether for their incredible and diverse wildlife habitats, their recreational opportunities or their ability to inspire children and adults alike to love and conserve our shared heritage as Americans.
Let’s not let the criminal activities of extremists distract the rest of us from the important collaborative conservation work that continues throughout this nation, with America’s national wildlife refuges playing a leading role in conserving our best landscapes for the future.”