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Grasslands Stories

Bison released into Badlands National Park

Welcome home! Bison released into new territory

Bison in Badlands National Park now have an additional 22,553 acres to roam thanks to a passionate group of supporters who want to see America’s national mammal thrive.

  • Party in the grass

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    The grasslands buzz with often unseen biodiversity. This medley of wildlife images offers a dizzying look at the insects and plants that contribute to the ecosystem of the Northern Great Plains.
    Prairie plants and insects
  • Stewards of the prairies

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2019
    Economic and cultural pressures have made ranching more challenging in recent years. WWF has been working with ranchers to help keep the grasslands intact to the benefit of both ranchers and wildlife.
    Pronghorn in grassland
  • Where do rhinos live? And eight other rhino facts

    September 19, 2019

    One of WWF's rhino experts answers common questions about rhinos around the world.

    White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), Kenya.
  • Progress in closing elephant ivory markets

    August 12, 2019

    Singapore takes an important step in protecting species from illegal wildlife trade.

    African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana) in Linyanti Reserve, Botswana
  • Understanding grassland loss in the Northern Great Plains

    WWF Magazine: Winter 2018
    Each year, WWF uses data from the USDA to track the conversion of grasslands to cropland across the Great Plains of North America and compare the loss to that of previous years. Here's what we found.
    numbers grassland2 winter2018
  • Seven unsung ecosystems we need to survive

    They may not be household names, but these ecosystems are vital to the health of our planet. They support an incredible range of plants and animals, as well as millions of people and their communities, and play a critical role in fighting climate change.

    zebra mirror Greg Armfield WW1113071
  • The next Dust Bowl? Great Plains grassland loss slows overall, but rises in South Dakota

    WWF’s latest annual study of the extent and impact of conversion of grasslands to croplands reveals that though such activity activity generally declined across the Great Plains in 2017, it has nearly doubled in South Dakota within the same time span.
    A tractor in a field
  • What’s the difference between Asian and African elephants? And 8 other elephant facts

    Elephants, found in both Africa and Asia, are vital to maintaining the rich biodiversity of the ecosystems that they share with other species. Here's a snapshot of what you should know about them.

    African elephant portrait
  • 5 Reasons the Farm Bill Matters to Conservation

    April 25, 2018

    Right now, members of Congress are working out the final details of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the stakes for conservation are huge.

    Hunt's Bumble Bee on sunflower
  • Grassland songbird populations pressured by the plow

    October 24, 2017

    Grassland birds native to the Northern Great Plains are losing vital habitat in the form of plow-up for row crop agriculture.

    bird sitting on a branch
  • 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
  • WWF supporters raise more than $250,000 to help bison in Badlands National Park

    March 30, 2017

    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.

    Close-up of bison in Badlands
  • 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

    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.

    Kate Rasmussen on her farm in the Northern Great Plains
  • 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 elephant 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 elephant 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

    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