Gary Frazer on Endangered Species

frazer_small126 June 2014 | Interview by Craig Kasnoff

Gary Frazer is the Assistant Director for Endangered Species at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He assumed that position in July 2009, and he is responsible for carrying out policy development and management of all aspects of the Endangered Species program.

Frazer started his career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1984 as a field biologist in the Ecological Services field office in Virginia and has been with the agency for almost 30 years.

His positions have included being a field biologist; an acting deputy chief for the Division of Habitat Conservation; a special assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks; the Deputy Assistant Director for the Ecological Services program and more.

EEJ: How do you see the ‘big’ picture of endangered species? Is it getting worse? Is it under control? Out of control? How do you see it?

FRAZER: We are experiencing a rapid loss of biodiversity in our nation and around the globe, and all indications are that it will continue to increase.

EEJ: Can / should all species be saved from extinction? If not, which ones ‘must’ be saved?

FRAZER: These questions reflect value judgments. In the U.S., the Endangered Species Act has the stated purpose to conserve all threatened and endangered species in the U.S.

EEJ: What do you see as the ‘leading’ cause of species extinction. Is there one?

FRAZER: While threats vary among species, habitat loss and degradation is one of the most consistent factors contributing to species endangerment.

EEJ: What do you think is the most promising ‘solution’ to saving endangered species from extinction?

FRAZER: Locally-driven conservation efforts that align species conservation with maintaining lifestyles or quality of life factors important to the community.

EEJ: What is your organization doing to help save endangered species from extinction?

FRAZER: We administer the U.S. Endangered Species Act, own and manage the National Wildlife Refuge System, support recovery of many aquatic species through our National Fish Hatcheries, and otherwise support conservation of the nation’s fish, wildlife and plants through everything that we do.

Wood_storks_555A pair of endangered Wood storks (photo courtesy USFWS)

EEJ: How / why did you (personally) become involved working on the endangered species issue?

FRAZER: I spent my childhood hunting and fishing and roaming the fields and forests and streams of rural Iowa. I was blessed with the opportunity to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and was drawn to the challenge of protecting the species that are most in need of our help.

EEJ: What do you think the ‘everyday’ person can do to help endangered species?

FRAZER: Consciously work every day to reduce your carbon and ecological footprint. Get involved in community-based conservation efforts.

EEJ: Are you hopeful or concerned for the future of species facing extinction?

FRAZER: It’s my job to be concerned, but the remarkable recovery stories across the country are a constant source of optimism.

For more information about Gary Frazer go to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

EEJ wishes to thank Gary Frazer for taking the time to respond to these questions.

Find organizations saving endangered species at Saving Endangered Species.

Bagheera is Produced by Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff

to Promote the Plight of Endangered Species and the Efforts to Save Them.