Defenders In the News

See who's talking about Defenders now.
September 22, 2014
Bison with calf, © Diana LeVasseur

The battered white pickup truck is bouncing across a pasture of sagebrush and alfalfa when Bronc Speak Thunder turns the steering wheel east and points to the far side of a creek bed. Scattered across a grassy slope are what appear to be a field of brown boulders -- until they rise onto furry black legs and turn their shaggy heads in our direction.

September 20, 2014
Coral reef, © Jim Maragos/USFWS

This summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration took the unprecedented step of listing 20 species of stony corals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This decision represents a tenfold increase in the number of corals with ESA protections; previously only two corals – the elkhorn and staghorn corals – were considered threatened.

September 12, 2014
Wolf, © Larry Travis

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had done its job, it wouldn't be facing another lawsuit over the Mexican gray wolf recovery effort. Maybe you can't expect bureaucrats to leap into a cauldron of controversy. After all, past efforts to update a 32-year-old recovery plan for the wolves were met with strong opposition from those who do not support reintroduction.

September 11, 2014
Gray Wolf, © Bruce Faanes

Conservation groups plan to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service over the recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf, arguing that the agency does not have an adequate road map to help the species survive. The wolf was nearly wiped out in the early 1970s, prompting efforts to rebuild the population. Today, about 83 live in the wild.

September 10, 2014
Sage-grouse, © Tatiana Gettelman

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) today finalized a state plan to protect the greater sage grouse that seeks to balance ranching and oil and gas development in the state with conservation strategies, a move he says should help to keep the bird from being listed for federal protection.

September 9, 2014

How can we visualize the number 5 billion, especially when it comes to thinking about a wildlife species? Worldwide, it’s hard to find a species, outside the insect world, with a population equivalent to 5 billion. But during the Civil War, there were that many passenger pigeons in the skies, making it the most abundant bird in North America. And yet, by 1914, the bird was gone forever.

August 26, 2014
Bison, © Walter Novak

FORT BELKNAP AGENCY, Mont. — In the employee directory of the Fort Belknap Reservation, Bronc Speak Thunder’s title is buffalo wrangler. In 2012, Mr. Speak Thunder drove a livestock trailer in a convoy from Yellowstone National Park that returned genetically pure bison to tribal land in northeastern Montana for the first time in 140 years. Mr. Speak Thunder, 32, is one of a growing number of younger Native Americans who are helping to restore native animals to tribal lands across the Northern Great Plains, in the Dakotas, Montana and parts of Nebraska.

August 22, 2014
Wolf, © Larry Travis

The Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation will soon distribute up to $50,000 in federal funds to reimburse livestock producers for money spent on nonlethal predator deterrents. Office Administrator Dustin Miller said application criteria will be announced in a few weeks.

August 21, 2014
Forest Mountain Stream, © Warren Sander

A coalition of conservation groups claims recently weakened federal water quality standards pose a threat to wildlife in Kentucky - both from coal mining and agricultural pollution.

August 20, 2014
Bison with calf, © Diana LeVasseur

Wildlife advocates ended up on opposite sides in a debate over a Yellowstone National Park proposal to reinitiate a quarantine program for park bison. On Tuesday night, Yellowstone National Park hosted a public meeting in Bozeman to scope out options and details to include in an environmental assessment on restarting a quarantine program for Yellowstone bison.