Key Species Conservation

Restoring Key Species

Restoring Key Species

With staff on the ground in 26 states and counting, Defenders of Wildlife works with federal and state agencies, and local partners across the country to restore and reintroduce focal species into their native habitats. Our teams work in communities to build support for the return of fish and wildlife, and with agency partners to orchestrate their release into the wild. In some cases, we are continuing to build on restoration efforts that we initiated decades ago. For other species, the journey is just beginning.

Defenders’ Wolverine Watchers project completed a third successful season in 2016-2017. This program, done in partnership with the Bitterroot National Forest (BNF), uses monitoring stations set up across 23 sites in the Northern Rockies, to capture data on wolverines, fishers and Canada lynx.

This year, Defenders gathered almost 60,000 photos of wildlife in the mountains and creek bottoms of the BNF. We documented our first fisher this year in a part of Montana that is supposed to maintain a healthy population, but has thus far not provided compelling physical evidence.

Defenders has contributed information to a multi-state wolverine monitoring effort that occurred this year, led by state wildlife agencies. We are continuing to expand knowledge on wolverines and provide longer-term, comparative efforts so we can help better understand wolverine distribution in the region.

Our results and reporting have already encouraged other organizations to replicate this effort and we have started another citizen science field effort like this in California to document other rare and important species.

More on Key Species Conservation: Improving Policies to Conserve Key Species »

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