Wildlife

Western rangelands provide habitat for over 3,000 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians, some found exclusively on these lands. This biodiversity resource inspires awe and spiritual renewal for some while providing hunting opportunities for others. We all depend on biodiversity to perform key ecological services such as nutrient cycling and soil formation. Today, human population growth in the West and its associated activities threatens the viability of many rangeland species. Some on the brink of extinction are now federally protected with threatened or endangered status. In addition, Humans and wildlife increasingly come into contact, disrupting the living patterns of both. Here we profile some of the main species found on Western rangelands, discuss the jurisdictional issues involved in their management, and present some of the key issues concerning listed species, wildlife-livestock interactions, and animal damage control.