Defenders of Wildlife has established The Tracks You Leave Behind newsletter to share highlights about our work, legacy giving ideas and the stories of those who have completed their own gifts.
Like everyone, Defenders faced unprecedented challenges in 2020. Nevertheless, we persisted and found innovative ways to continue the hard work and collaborative projects that drive our mission to protect our nation’s imperiled species and habitats. Here is just a sampling of what we were able to accomplish before COVID-19 hit in March and while working remotely as we have ever since.
- Proposition 114, the Colorado ballot measure to reintroduce wolves in the state, passed by local voters on election day. This is the first time in history that the residents in any state have voted to bring back an endangered species. Defenders continues outreach efforts to prepare the public for the return of wolves, developing relationships with key partners and hosting our “Ranching with Predators” workshops.
- In mid-May, in response to a petition by Defenders and Sierra Forest Legacy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Fishers face a variety of threats including climate change, rodenticide poisoning, vehicle collisions and habitat loss.
- Defenders developed a new range-rider partnership with the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona that supports a tribal member working closely with Defenders. The San Carlos Apache Tribe controls 1.8 million acres of mostly excellent wolf habitat, home to at least three Mexican gray wolf packs.
- Defenders’ scarlet macaw reintroduction project in Mexico had another very successful year. The pandemic prevented the release of new birds, but we provided funding for 20 nesting barrels. Camera traps documented six hatchlings in these cozy, innovative artificial nests, an indication that the reintroduced population is getting established and starting to increase on its own.
Moving into 2021, Defenders looks forward to working with President Biden on the priorities and actions needed to safeguard America’s extraordinary conservation legacy for all wildlife and people. We submitted a detailed plan for our nation’s wildlife to the new administration and our staff continues to participate in working group discussions with the transition team. Defenders is acutely aware of the difficult work ahead, but we look forward to it with unbounded optimism and a focused determination to change the direction for wildlife.