Grand Teton NP, © Kari Funk
© Kari Funk

Northern Rockies

Success Stories

Wildlife Restoration & Protection

  • After many decades of absence, wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in 1995. Defenders was an integral part of the wolf reintroduction effort. We were the first conservation organization to call for the return of wolves to the Northern Rockies. 
  • In 2007, Defenders led the push in Montana to restrict trapping of wolverines. Thanks in part to our efforts, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed to reduce the trapping quota from 10 to five animals statewide, and also closed trapping in areas where it posed the greatest risk to the population. 

Coexistence with Wildlife

  • From 1987 to 2010, Defenders pioneered a wolf compensation program to reimburse ranchers for livestock lost to wolves. In 23 years, we invested more than $1.4 million in an effort to build trust and promote tolerance within the livestock community. States now manage their own wolf compensation programs. 
  • Since 1997, Defenders has spent more than $500,000 on more than 250 grizzly bear coexistence projects in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. This includes bear-resistant food storage lockers for campgrounds, bear-resistant electric fencing for livestock, bear-resistant garbage containers for residential areas, livestock guard dogs and more. Each project increased protections and tolerance for grizzlies.
  • Since 2010, Defenders has worked with multiple landowners near Yellowstone National Park to prevent private property damage from roaming wild bison. We offer reimbursements of 50 percent of the cost of installing simple fencing around sensitive areas such as gardens or landscaping. This surprisingly simple technique is usually effective, and each project increased tolerance and acceptance of roaming wild bison.

Habitat Protection

  • In 2011, an oil company called PXP presented a proposal for 136 new oil and gas wells in lynx habitat in the Upper Hoback region of Wyoming. Defenders led an independent effort to document wildlife that travel through the Upper Hoback region. We set up remote cameras to photograph all the species that would be at risk of losing vital habitat if drilling were allowed to occur. We also helped generate more than 60,000 comments in opposition to the proposal. Happily in 2012, PXP agreed to sell its leases and end its project.