Behind beef, soy is the second largest agricultural driver of deforestation worldwide. From the Northern Great Plains of the U.S. to the Amazon of Brazil, forests, grasslands, and wetlands are being plowed up to make room for more soy production.
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.
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.
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.
From bison herds in the Northern Great Plains to polar bears in the far north of Alaska, wild creatures need our help to not only survive, but to thrive. WWF works with the government, businesses, universities, local communities, and other conservation organizations to ensure we can protect animal populations and their habitats. Take a look at a few of these amazing species found in the United States
Ranchers are often the first to admit they prefer to shy away from the spotlight. However, when they do participate, there is an opportunity to elevate the conversation about North American sustainable beef production and private lands stewardship while celebrating innovation and leadership with their peers. WWF supports stewardship award recognition programs in all five Northern Great Plains states (MT, ND, SD, WY, NE), where ranchers manage the majority of the NGP’s remaining intact grasslands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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