US Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement

USFW LE release captured birds

Mission of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement:  The Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) protects wildlife and plant resources through the effective enforcement of federal laws. By working with local, tribal, state, federal, and international enforcement officers, and other conservation partners, we combat wildlife trafficking, help recover endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitats, safeguard fisheries, prevent the introduction and spread of injurious and invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation. 

The OLE focuses on potentially devastating threats to wildlife resources -- illegal trade, unlawful commercial exploitation, habitat destruction, and environmental contaminants. The OLE investigates wildlife crimes, regulates wildlife trade, helps Americans understand and obey wildlife protections laws, and works in partnership with international, state, and tribal counterparts to conserve wildlife resources. This work includes: 

  • Breaking up international and domestic smuggling rings that target imperiled animals 

  • Preventing the unlawful commercial exploitation of protected U.S. species 

  • Protecting wildlife from environmental hazards and safeguarding critical habitat for endangered species 

  • Enforcing federal migratory game bird hunting regulations and working with states to protect other game species from illegal take and preserve legitimate hunting opportunities 

  • Inspecting wildlife shipments to ensure compliance with laws and treaties and detect illegal trade 

  • Working with international counterparts to combat illegal trafficking in protected species 

  • Training other federal, state, tribal, and foreign law enforcement officers 

  • Using forensic science to analyze evidence and solve wildlife crimes 

  • Distributing information and outreach materials to increase public understanding of wildlife conservation and promote compliance with wildlife protection laws 

The OLE continually focuses its efforts on the most devastating threats to wildlife and plant resources.  The multibillion-dollar illegal wildlife trade involves the unlawful harvest and trade of live animals, plants or parts and products derived from them.  The United States is a destination, transit point and source for trafficked wildlife.  Stamping out wildlife trafficking is a priority because it is one of the largest direct threats to the future of many of the world’s most imperiled species second only to habitat destruction in overall threats against species survival.  The OLE works tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle criminal syndicates profiting from this illegal trade.  

Learn More About USFWS, Office of Law Enforcement: 

Office of Law Enforcement - Home Page (


Return to DOI LE Task Force Home

Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment