While 2018 is far from over, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates already has many exciting accomplishments this year! As a nonprofit conservation organization, all of our efforts are made possible by the generosity of supporters. It’s the support of our donors that empowers us to continue fighting to protect Wyoming’s most vulnerable habitats and species. Click here to donate to WWA through Old Bill’s Fun Run for Charities – one of our primary sources of funding. Thank you for your support!
Fighting For Grizzly Bears
Since the announcement of the grizzly trophy hunt in May, we’ve seized every opportunity to resist this attack on one of the region’s most important and iconic species. Our efforts have been many, but a one of the most notable includes designing a billboard in Cody, WY, that has been seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors to Yellowstone National Park. We also submitted lengthy comments to the Wyoming Game & Fish’s hunting proposal detailing our myriad concerns about the plan to target bears in the state. Likewise, we joined forces with other nonprofits to challenge the hunt based on the ways in which bear mortalities from 2017 were reported.
Our billboard can be seen right at the entrance to the town of Cody, Wyoming.
In April, WWA hosted a community reception at the National Museum of Wildlife Art immediately preceding the WY Game & Fish’s meeting to gather feedback on proposed hunting regulations. We were stunned by the success of the event – hundreds of supporters joined us in learning more about the proposal, why it is not a sustainable or acceptable plan for Wyoming’s grizzlies, made signs for protesting and voiced strong resistance to the management plan.
In addition to pursuing resistance in every possible manner, we’ve worked hard to keep our supporters empowered and informed of important developments in the news. WWA is also the only organization keeping a close eye on the most up-to-date grizzly mortality data in the state, and publishing that information (along with possible implications) for our followers.
Folks enjoyed snacks and crafted protest signs at our reception directly before the Game & Fish meeting in Jackson.
We were proud to support the grassroots effort of the Shoot ‘Em With a Camera effort to enter non-hunters into the grizzly tag raffle. Over 7,000 people entered the drawing, and WWA is thrilled to celebrate the two individuals – including famed wildlife photographer Tom Mangelsen – who were drawn and intend to photograph instead of kill grizzlies.
In March, we welcomed Melissa Thomasma to the helm as our new Executive Director. Thomasma, a Jackson Hole native, has served as WWA’s Communications Director for the past two years. Her primary focus for the immediate future will be on streamlining WWA’s administration, with a particular focus on building a strong foundation of governance, outreach and fundraising success.
“I’m excited to step into the leadership of Wyoming Wildlife Advocates at this dynamic point in the organization’s growth,” says Thomasma. “WWA is the only local organization that is engaging some of these deeply important and highly controversial wildlife management issues, and that underscores the need for the work we’re doing.”
The Wildlife Guide
This summer, WWA released its brand new Wildlife Guide – a complimentary information source for visitors to the area. It features custom watercolor artwork by local artist Gisele Olson, and so far has been distributed to over 1500 guests in Jackson Hole. Each page features a unique animal found in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) and invites visitors to learn more about the species as well as the serious conservation challenges that each face.
A selection of the beautiful watercolor wildlife images created for the Guide by local artist Gisele Olson.
To learn more about this project, head over to the Wildlife Guide section of our website. You can explore the whole guide as well as more in-depth information about each featured animal.
Invisible Boundaries Exhibit
In June, WWA was proud to sponsor the exquisite exhibit “Invisible Boundaries” at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. This stunning collection of photographs by Joe Riis explores the impressive migration routes of ungulates across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We believe that observing and protecting these migration routes is critical to ecosystem health across the state and larger region. But we’re also concerned that these pathways could bring new disease to the GYE’s herds.
Invisible Boundaries Exhibit – Joe Riis photograph, courtesy Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming, USA.
Chronic Wasting Disease Map
In collaboration with the Sierra Club, WWA is also releasing an updated version of our map charting the progress of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) across the state. We continue to carefully monitor developments in the spread of the pathogen, and are currently refining our campaign to bring an end to the artificial feeding of elk on feedgrounds. These areas encourage animals to condense in small areas, creating ideal conditions to spread diseases like CWD and hoof rot.
Finally, the best protection we have against these diseases are healthy and robust populations of predators. WWA is working to keep our supporters informed and empowered to resist the indiscriminate killing of wolves, coyotes, cougars and bears.
There is a great deal of deeply important work on the horizon. As we see renewed threats to the Endangered Species Act, more public lands under threat of development and extraction, and the expanding impacts of climate change, it’s clear that our efforts are more critical than ever. More species face more serious challenges than they ever have; and without your support, we can’t continue to fight for them.
It is the generosity of donors that has allowed us to accomplish so much this year already, and will let us continue to grow, resist and work tirelessly to protect our wildest neighbors. We need your support to build on our success.