Kent Nelson, Roger Hayden & Melissa Thomasma

OUR VISION

A Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

We envision a Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as a place where the processes of nature can be allowed to play out with minimal interference from people. This region is a world treasure, and we have an obligation to treat it as such. With grizzly bears and wolves back in the mix in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, this is one of the few places in the world that has the entire complement of animals that were here prior to European settlement. This presents us with an historic opportunity to rebalance one of the world’s most important ecosystems with something approaching a natural balance between the species, including the people who live here.

Mission

Wyoming Wildlife Advocates is a 501 (c) (3) organization formed to promote a rational, science-based approach to wildlife management throughout the state of Wyoming. WWA will encourage policies that will maintain a healthy, natural balance — or dynamic equilibrium —between predator and prey species. We acknowledge that fluctuations occur among populations, but we believe this is natural and that the hand of man must lay lightly upon the reins. We believe that migratory patterns must be maintained and connectivity between isolated populations encouraged. We envision a Wyoming where people and wildlife peacefully coexist.

Who We Are

MELISSA THOMASMA

Executive Director

B.A. International Studies, MA Western American History

Born and raised in Jackson Hole, the wild lands of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are deeply special to Melissa, as are the animals that inhabit it. Melissa is dedicated to preserving the unique wild legacy of the area, and to bringing desperately-needed reform to Wyoming’s wildlife management system. She believes that Wyoming can be a leader in excellent and innovative management that is transparent, incorporates a diversity of stakeholder perspectives, and is guided by the best available science. Alongside her husband, Melissa enjoys sharing the unparalleled beauty of the GYE with her young daughter.

KRISTIN COMBS

Program Director

B.S. Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction, M.S. Science Education

Science and education have dominated Kristin’s life. With eight years of non-profit administration experience and three and a half years working in public education, she has made science more accessible and enjoyable for thousands of individuals. Kristin is a Program Director for Girls Actively Participating and mentors young girls in confidence, competence, and community building. Born and raised in the Midwest, she and her husband have been happy to claim the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem as their home for 14 years.

KENT NELSON

Board President

Kent is a retired businessman who worked for many years in the music industry as a music producer and engineer and was the founder and owner of two concert sound and light production companies. He now works as a wildlife photographer and travels extensively to practice his craft. He has lived his entire adult life in the Northern Rockies and is also a past board member and officer of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, a pioneer in large-landscape conservation. He and his wife Ann live in Jackson Hole.

What We Do

Grizzly Bears

As of July 31st, 2017, the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act. The bears – now under the management of individual states – will likely face hunting in the near future. WWA believes unequivocally that this is the wrong decision, made for the wrong reasons.

Elk

Chronic Wasting Disease – a deadly illness that erodes the brains of elk and deer – is steadily spreading across Wyoming. The elk of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are one of only a few populations in the state that have not yet tested positive for the disease. But given migration patterns and the density of animals on wintertime feedgrounds, it’s only a matter of time.

Wolves

In early 2017, wolves were returned to state management in Wyoming, meaning that in the vast majority of the state, they can be shot on sight. They can be killed for trophies, for amusement, or for no reason at all. Not only is this policy ethically unsound, it’s biologically detrimental to the big-picture ecology of Wyoming.

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