The Rocky Mountains are home to some of North America’s most iconic species, such as grizzly bears, gray wolves, elk, mule deer, lynx, and wolverines.

Many of the largest remaining roadless areas in the U.S. are also found here, with high mountain peaks, thick forests and free-flowing rivers. The adjacent Great Plains were once America’s Serengeti: an endless sea of grass supporting abundant wildlife including millions of roaming bison and massive prairie dog colonies that provided food or shelter for black-footed ferrets, hawks and eagles, burrowing owls, swift fox, and dozens of other species.

Though millions of acres have been converted for crop production and human communities, large intact grasslands remain and the native wildlife, including bison, are returning to protected areas.  

Defenders' Impact

Defenders is working with public, tribal, and private landowners and managers across the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains to protect and restore the regions’ most imperiled wildlife and the large landscapes on which they depend. We are helping restore wild bison, black-footed ferrets, and wolves to new locations.

We are also restoring keystone species that create habitat for many other species, such as prairie dogs on which dozens of other species depend, and beavers which create aquatic habitat for many species that require the wetlands they create.

Our work to promote and incentivize nonlethal tools and techniques to reduce human conflict with wildlife is helping create more acceptance among people for the presence of wolves, grizzly bears, bison, beavers, and other wildlife. 

What We Do

Conserving Imperiled Species

In the Rockies and Plains, we work to conserve imperiled species like grizzly bears, black-footed ferrets, wolverines, native trout, prairie wild bison and wolves.

Protecting Habitat

We are defending important habitats these imperiled species depend on, from the wide open prairies to the snow-capped peaks of the mountains.

Promoting Coexistence

We are implementing proven coexistence techniques that reduce conflicts between wildlife and the people who work, live and recreate in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains.

Speaking for Wildlife

We advocate for wildlife in the Wyoming, Colorado and Montana state legislatures, and on a national level for both wildlife and our federal lands.  

News

Fort Peck Indian Reservation, MT

Diverting Yellowstone Bison from Slaughter in Favor of Restoration, Partnership Begins New Improved Relocation Program

Today, 55 bison were transferred from Yellowstone National Park to the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, marking the first major relocation by the park under a new program that diverts disease-free Yellowstone bison from slaughter to tribal-led restoration efforts.