Protecting threatened and endangered plants and animals requires cooperation at every level. In the United States, thanks to the public/private network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers, stakeholders can obtain and share comprehensive information on threatened species and eco-systems to help accomplish these important goals.
Wyoming’s Natural Heritage Program
The Wyoming Natural Diversity Database (WYNDD) is the state-level Natural Heritage Program in Wyoming that collects and monitors vital information about the state’s native plants and animals. The WYNDD databases include a compilation of expert information, lists, field guides, maps, and other various documents about rare and threatened species living in the state, as well as a list of species of concern.
The Wyoming Natural Diversity Database information has proven to be a significant resource for decision-makers within local, state, and federal agencies when developing conservation and land management plans to protect species. One of these important decision-makers in the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management.
Threatened and Endangered Species in Wyoming
The Threatened and Endangered Species Program, part of the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management, places a significant focus on twelve out of twenty-four species that fall under either Candidate, Proposed, Threatened, or Endangered status Wyoming. These include plant and animal species such as the gray wolf and grizzly bear, the Colorado butterfly, and the desert yellowhead.
How Partnerships Help Protect Threatened and Endangered Species
The Wyoming BLM partners with various state and federal agencies, non-profits, private businesses, and individuals to inventory and monitor such species and to develop cooperative plans for their protection.
When plant and animal species become threatened or endangered, it is often due to a loss or degradation of their existing habitats. Habitat loss is caused by a wide variety of activities, such as cattle grazing, use of pesticides, or land development, to name a few. Using information from the WYNDD, partners can obtain information on the numbers and locations of existing populations of threatened species to put their efforts in those areas best.
Typical programs include restoration of degraded habitats and preservation of those existing, eliminating the use of pesticides, removal or rotation of cattle grazing, and captive breeding and reintroducing species to regenerated habitats.
How You Can Help
The WYNDD is not just a resource for government agencies and conservation-related non-profits. Members of the public can also collect and submit observational data on plant and animal species and larger datasets such as spreadsheets.
In addition, there are many things you can do to help threatened and endangered species, and the first is by learning more about those in your area. You can also protect wildlife by avoiding herbicides and pesticides, purchasing sustainable items, and recycling wherever you can. Remember that every little bit helps, and these actions will help reduce mining that destroys natural habitats.