Report: Staff shortages hamper US wildlife refuges
Posted September 21
PORTLAND, Ore. — A report from an alliance of public employees and law enforcement says hundreds of national wildlife refuges are crippled by a staffing shortage.
The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said Wednesday staffing at the nation's 565 refuges and related properties shrank 15 percent in the past decade.
Executive director Jeff Ruch says more than one-third of those locations don't have staff on site and more than half don't have their own manager.
The report raises security concerns after the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in remote southeast Oregon.
The occupiers invaded the refuge's headquarters in January for a 41-day standoff with authorities.
They were protesting the prosecution of two ranchers who set fires on federal lands. Seven of them are on trial in Portland.