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Wildlife Legal News

Our society created a legal system to resolve disputes and declare rights. While the system is designed to give humans an opportunity to be heard, it often neglects the lives of animals, especially wildlife.  Friends of Animals seeks to utilize and develop laws in a way that offers animals representation too. Wildlife legal news covers stories from around the world about how the law is being used, or abused, to control the fate of human-wildlife interactions. It also contains updates on cases that Friends of Animals is pursuing. 

Wildlife Law Program Press Releases

What We’re Reading Week of 12/15/2014

1) President Obama enacts executive protections for Bristol Bay, Alaska, aiding wildlife (The New York Times)

On December 16th, President Obama signed an executive memorandum granting protections to Bristol Bay, banning oil and gas development there ( Bristol Bay is home to a plethora of marine mammals, including the endangered North Pacific right whale, the beluga whale, and the killer whale. President Obama, speaking of the Bay, stated that, “It is a beautiful natural wonder, and it’s something that’s too precious to us to just be putting out to the highest bidder.”

The Wildlife Law Program is currently working to protect marine mammals in another part of Alaska—the Cook Inlet— and takes this presidential action as inspiration to continue to fight for the bright futures of endangered Cook Inlet belugas and other marine wildlife. Please help us to protect Cook Inlet wildlife by submitting a comment to the National Marine Fisheries Service, encouraging them to conduct research on the effects of human-led activities on marine mammals there:!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0129-000.

2) Bangladesh oil spill poses immense risks to wildlife and environment, including rare dolphin species (Huffington Post)

Last week, an oil tanker sank in a Bangladesh near a UNESCO World Heritage mangrove forest site, jeopardizing life in the area ( It is unclear how much oil spilt, but some estimate more than 50,000 gallons. The oil slick has spread up to 45 miles and could spell danger for the rare Irrawaddy dolphins found in these waters.

This spill highlights the continued need to protect marine ecosystems from development activities. Hopefully, thanks to President Obama’s executive action (discussed above), Bristol Bay, Alaska, can now avoid a tragic incident like this one in Bangladesh.

3) Animal Legal Defense Fund releases latest list of best and worst states in terms of animal protections (One Green Planet)

In its annual list, the ALDF scores states on their legal protections for animals; states are separated into three tiers for scoring. This year, Illinois tops the list as the state with the best legal protections, while Kentucky comes in at #50. To read more about the top five and bottom five states, as well as an explanation of the rankings, click here (