Defenders in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains
Bison, © Walter Novak

Defenders in Action: Restoring Keystone Species

Defenders keeps wildlife in the western life by restoring keystone species that have an outsized impact on their ecosystems using a broad range of conservation tools.

How We’re Helping

  • Defenders helped lead efforts to reintroduce gray wolves to the Northern Rockies in 1995 and continues to work for better management and greater acceptance of these important but controversial predators, particularly as they move into new areas. Wolves play a vital role in regulating plant and animal communities by influencing the numbers and behaviors prey animals, competitors, and other species dependent on them.
  • Grizzly bears were in serious trouble before they gained protection under the Endangered Species Act. Now we’re working to address conflicts as these giant animals regain parts of their historic habitat.
  • Bison and prairie dogs are considered ecosystem engineers for their vigilant maintenance of our native grasslands. Prairie dogs also provide food for black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, and several birds of prey. Restoring bison and prairie dogs is key to revitalizing the Great Plains and protecting the future of other prairie species.
More on Defenders in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains: Defenders in Action: Living with Wildlife »

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Photo: Joel Sartore
How You Can Help
The war on wolves must stop. Demand an official status review of wolves in the Northern Rockies – the first step toward restoring protection!
Northern long-eared bat, © Steven Thomas/NPS
Fact Sheet
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. With extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between, the bat’s wing anatomically resembles the human hand.
Fact Sheet
The American black bear is the smallest of the three bears species found in North America, and are found only in North America. Black bears have short, non-retractable claws that give them an excellent tree-climbing ability.