On an outing in Yellowstone earlier this month, I was thrilled to see many different animals, from clusters of bison cows heavy with the impending birth of their calves, to wolves napping in the snow on a bitterly cold but sunny morning, to a large jackrabbit still wearing its white winter coat.
As much time as I have spent in the Park, I never cease to be amazed by its variety and sheer abundance of wildlife.
It has always been a top priority of the Yellowstone Park Foundation to help support Yellowstone National Park’s wildlife conservation efforts, from iconic bears and wolves, to lesser-known or seldom-seen species.
The Yellowstone Park Foundation recently announced $350,000 in new grants to Yellowstone. These funds will make possible a wide range of projects, including some new wildlife-related projects about which we are very excited:
$100,000 to launch a seasonal Wildlife & Visitor Safety Program to manage interactions between visitors and bears, wolves, and other animals along Park roads. The goal of the program is to keep wildlife wild, while enhancing safety and enjoyment of viewing opportunities for Park visitors.
$85,000 to fund the first year of a five-year Yellowstone Raptor Study, to inventory birds of prey such as owls and golden eagles in the Park. The study will assess population trends for seldom-studied species that are decreasing in abundance outside the Park, or being considered for listing as endangered species.
$15,000 to establish a Park-wide Bat Monitoring Program for the early detection of White-Nose Syndrome, which has decimated bat populations in the Northeast and is spreading rapidly south and west. Without this program, the impact of this disease would most likely go unnoticed until it's too late.
These new projects complement several ongoing, multi-year projects supported by the Yellowstone Park Foundation, such as the Fly Fishing Volunteers Program, funding of bear-proof food storage boxes for campgrounds, and research on the ecological role of wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
We are able to do the work that we do because so many people, like you, cherish Yellowstone and its wildlife. We thank you, and we look forward to keeping you posted on the progress of these new projects.
Karen Bates Kress