Toggle Nav

Grasslands Stories

Close-up of bison in Badlands

WWF supporters raise more than $250,000 to help bison in Badlands National Park

In early March, nearly 2,500 people donated a total of $256,512 to extend bison habitat at the park from 57,640 acres to 80,193 acres. This will allow the park to achieve and sustain a herd of more than 1,000 bison, and will allow more park visitors to see and learn about the United States’ National mammal.

  • Grassland birds of the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2017
    Grassland birds have taken a nosedive in recent decades: They’re the fastest-declining bird group in North America.
    Lark bunting on a shrub
  • Working together for monarchs

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2017
    In Iowa's farm country, two families share stewardship of the land and help butterflies
    monarch butterfly
  • A leopard family offers safari-goers an unexpected reward in Botswana

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2017
    On a safari in Botswana, we saw a leopard emerge with a tiny, spotted cub held gently in her mouth. It was so young its eyes weren’t even open—likely no more than two or three days old.
    Leopard in Tree
  • A rainfall simulator helps us understand grasslands

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2017
    Every year, trillions of gallons of rainfall and snowmelt pour into the grasslands of the Northern Great Plains. But the role the grasslands play in capturing all that liquid is often poorly understood. Enter the rainfall simulator.
    rainfall simulator 01
  • Cedar and steel: a day in the life of a young rancher

    November 22, 2016

    Kate Rasmussen of South Dakota offers readers a glimpse into the life of a next-generation rancher from the Northern Great Plains, one of the largest remaining intact grasslands in the world. WWF is partnering with organizations such as the South Dakota Grasslands Coalition in support of ranching families and grassland stewards like the Rasmussen family.

    A cow standing in the grasslands of Montana
  • Falling to the plow: North America’s Grasslands losing more habitat than the Brazilian Amazon

    November 16, 2016

    North America's Grasslands, a landscape that once seemed to offer the promise of endless resources, are being lost to the plow faster than deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. This year, WWF is releasing the first edition of a new annual publication called the Plowprint Report, whose purpose is to track annual grassland conversion to cropland across the Great Plains, and to provide a consistent way to measure the loss of this important habitat type.

    Badlands National Park
  • Innovations (and peanut butter) give black-footed ferrets a boost

    October 18, 2016

    An unlikely combination of peanut butter and drones has given biologists renewed hope for the future of North America’s rarest mammal, the endangered black-footed ferret. Biologists are helping these fascinating animals and their main prey—prairie dogs—fight a deadly plague by dropping peanut butter-flavored, vaccine-laced bait into their habitat.

    drone flying and delivering bait
  • Uniting against the illegal ivory trade

    August 11, 2016

    This World Elephant Day, it’s important to celebrate the positive momentum being taken to save this iconic species. Poaching trends in Africa are down from the peak of 2011, and governments, NGOs and individuals around the globe have made significant strides in 2016 to fight the ivory trade that fuels poaching.

    Two male African elephants (Loxodonta africana) with locked trunks. Kenya.
  • Hero NGP
  • A symbol of hope: US designates bison as the national mammal

    April 27, 2016

    The bison—a resilient and iconic species roaming our Northern Great Plains—now serves as the national mammal of the United States, celebrating a species once on the brink of extinction.

    bison charging
  • Partnering for America's Plains

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2016
    How WWF helped assemble a broad coalition of people to conserve the Northern Great Plains
    The sun shines through clouds on the plains
  • Lessons in life on the African plains

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2016
    A trip to Kenya to see the animals of the plains
    Two male lions walking
  • Photographing the most elusive animals of Namibia

    February 11, 2016

    Researcher Lise Hansen and photographer Will Burrard-Lucas worked together to document the great diversity of wildlife present in this part of Namibia—even the shy and rarely seen animals. 

    Will Burrard-Lucas Camera Traps Elephants
  • Ranchers of the Northern Great Plains provide a safe haven for grassland birds

    January 28, 2016

    WWF’s Northern Great Plains program has begun to look more closely at the role that grassland songbirds play on ranchland throughout the region.

    pippit to kid
  • Returning black-footed ferrets to the wilds of the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2016
    With WWF's help, black-footed ferrets gain new ground
    Black-footed ferret release
  • Releasing black-footed ferrets into the wild

    In 2015, WWF marked its third consecutive year of black-footed ferret reintroductions on the Fort Belknap Reservation in northern Montana. WWF and partners also documented both first and second generation kits— young ferrets—born to individuals released in 2013 and 2014.

    black footed ferret released
  • 8 surprising prairie dog facts

    January 05, 2016

    Prairie dogs tend to be celebrated for their larger ecological virtues. In the grasslands across the central and western United States, their intricate underground colonies—called prairie dog towns—create shelter for jackrabbits, toads, and rattlesnakes. These small, chubby-looking mammals are also fascinating in their own right. Check out these facts for a glimpse into their strange, surprisingly complex world.

    prairie dogs eating
  • Thai Citizens Condemn the Illegal Ivory Trade

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2015
    How erasing a Thai letter from people’s names can help elephants
    Erased Chor Chang letter
  • Prairie Dogs, Black-Footed Ferrets, and a Pilot-less Plane

    September 02, 2015

    WWF and partners used a drone to map and evaluate habitat for endangered black-footed ferrets. Only about 300 of the slender, masked carnivores are left in the wild today. Scientists must monitor prairie dog colonies to determine current and potential new habitat for black-footed ferrets.

    launching drone
  • Bighorn Sheep Relocation in South Dakota

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2015
  • Wildlife Management Areas in the 21st Century

    WWF Magazine: Spring 2015
    Data helps more than 500 village game scouts more effectively monitor species in Tanzania
    Two village game scouts stand on a rock and look over the landscape.
  • Fort Peck Tribes Leaders Restore Bison on Reservation

    December 23, 2014

    One hundred and thirty-six wild Yellowstone bison—free of cattle genes—reclaimed their historic home in the Northern Great Plains when released into the Fort Peck Indian Reservation’s cultural buffalo reserve.

    bison group
  • How bison survive winter in the Northern Great Plains

    December 18, 2014

    Despite roaming vast distances in the Northern Great Plains, bison do not move south as the weather grows cold and inhospitable, though they may move to lower elevations where snow is not so deep. Temperatures plummet well below zero, bitter winds whip across the landscape, and bison still remain.

    bison covered in snow
  • Soil Carbon: A Scientist Makes a Bold Guarantee

    WWF Magazine: Fall 2014
    Holistically Managed Livestock Can Bring Back Our Grasslands
    Zebra