B y the numbers That’s how old the national wildlife refuge system will be on Thursday. On that date in 1903, President Teddy Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island to protect wild birds from bounty hunters. The system now includes 561 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts providing needed vital habitat for thousands of animal and plant species. There are 23 national wildlife refuges in Washington. The nation’s system of refuges supports wildlife that includes 700 species of birds, 200 mammals, 250 reptiles and amphibians, more than 1,000 species of fish and countless invertebrates and plants.