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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How You Can Help
Each year, as wild bison wander beyond the borders of Yellowstone National Park in search of food, Montana livestock officials demand that these iconic animals be rounded up and shipped to slaughter houses to keep them out of Montana and to keep their numbers low.
Newsroom
The latest articles about wildlife issues that may be of interest to those in the press.
Bison with calf, © Diana LeVasseur
Success Story
November 2014 - More than 100 wild bison were brought to Fort Peck Indian Reservation, adding to this historic conservation herd.