Pika at lower Slide Lake

Coping, Not Overcoming

Scientist discovers pikas’ strategies for dealing with heat

By Alanna Elder

Just like the creature she studies, Embere Hall spends much of the winter beneath the snow. Her office is tucked in a network of hallways beneath the University of Wyoming’s older science buildings.

Spring Snowstorm at Obsidian Creek with grizzly bears

Return of the Grizzly

No longer federally protected, is the great bear ready to strike out on its own?

In the early 20th century, tourists gathered around dump pits in Yellowstone National Park to watch grizzlies devour trash.

A black footed ferret sits on the edge of its burrow in grass.

New Neighbors

Wyoming ranchers are key to black-footed ferret recovery

Lenox Baker’s hands gripped the steering wheel, and the large silver ring on his finger glinted, revealing an outline of a black-footed ferret.

Preble’s Meadow Jumping Mouse

A Tale of Two Species

Plants and animals receive different protections under the Endangered Species Act

In 1998, the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed a small brown mouse with large hind feet and a 6-inch-long whip-like tail as threatened

Wolves in snow

Mapping Recovery

Once missing from Yellowstone, reintroduced wolves make a comeback

On a crisp March morning in 1995, wolf biologist Doug Smith and colleagues from the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service made their way toward a makeshift pen in Yellowstone National Park’s northern range.

Collaborate or Litigate

Collaborate or Litigate

Local collaboration faces off against outsider litigation in the long, slow process to help a threatened species

From his Chevy Silverado, Phil Fine watched heavy rain fill up an irrigation ditch on his family farm in central Oregon.

Illustrations of wolf, bear, and sagegrouse

Modernizing the Act

As calls for ESA reform have conservationists on high alert, western governors offer a way forward

“Here’s the problem. The Endangered Species Act isn’t working today,”

laser focus on sage grouse illustration

Laser Focus on Sage Grouse

Researchers deploy cutting-edge technology to understand sage grouse and their habitat

Alarms wake the researchers, students, and technicians living in “Chicken Camp” at 3:45 a.m. this chilly April morning.

Line drawing of an extinct passenger pigeon


When the last passenger pigeon dies in the Cincinnati Zoo,
it is autumn,
a hot September day,

Wyoming Natural Diversity Database Zoologist Ian Abernethy examines the wing of a western long-eared bat (Myotis evotis) for signs of potential white-nose syndrome infection. Photo by Kathryn Walpole / WYNDD

Staying Vigilant

Scientists are on the lookout for white-nose syndrome in Wyoming bats

Just miles from Devil’s Tower National Monument, the sun was dropping in the sky, and Ian Abernethy, lead vertebrate zoologist for the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database

Illustration of people watching from railing while ghosts of animals rise into a night sky


A meditation on extinction

No more northern white rhinos live in the wild, and the three in captivity are too old to reproduce.

sage grouse

A Win-Win Situation

What’s good for sage grouse is good for landowners

I met Peter John Camino in the lobby of the Johnson County Public Library in Buffalo, Wyoming.

A lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) sips nectar from an agave blossom.

To the Bat Cave!

Conservationists turn to tourism to protect endangered bats

In the 1980s, more than 50,000 visitors toured Colossal Cave annually.

Tortoise on leaves

Lesson from a Tortoise

The Endangered Species Act works best when it’s never invoked

A first encounter with a gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) may not leave a lasting impression in one’s mind;

Amphibious Citizen Scientists

Amphibious Citizen Scientists

Wildlife managers turn to volunteers for help collecting hard-to-get data

I swished my dipnet through water and vegetation at the edge of the beaver pond, creating swirls of mud that obscured the bottom.

Conservation Easements in Wyoming

Conservation Easements in Wyoming

Each land trust, landowner, and conservation easement is one-of-a-kind

From verdant, low-elevation spreads in Wyoming’s northeast corner to high, dry western basins, private lands across the state are diverse.

Realtor Conservationists

Realtor Conservationists

Anticipating residential development to protect habitat

Each spring, just outside the town of Pinedale, Wyoming, some 5,000 mule deer slip through a 400-meter-wide gap between a housing development and Fremont Lake.

Carnivores, Not Condos

Carnivores, Not Condos

Ranches provide key wildlife passages between two protected ecosystems

On his ranch in Montana’s Ruby Valley, Rick Sandru can load hay and enjoy views of the snowcapped Tobacco Root Mountains as geese honk overhead.