Baku & Beyond: Going Big Around the World
President’s Message from Sean Gerrity
American Prairie Reserve isn’t alone in our interest to restore thriving wildlife populations on large-scale landscapes. Last month I spoke to an international audience of 750 in Baku, Azerbaijan on the topic of going big with our conservation dreams. Leyla Aliyeva, who heads up the International Dialogue for Environmental Action (IDEA) in Baku, assembled a diverse and international group of participants to discuss the challenge of meaningful biodiversity work in Azerbaijan, where, to be effective, landscapes and wildlife corridors must span international borders.
Burrowing Owls & Bighorns
Montana Wilderness Walk on APR
More than a dozen participants with a Montana Wilderness Walk set up at Buffalo Camp again this May. The adventuresome group enjoyed morning bird walks, a tour of APR with staff biologists, and a hike to nearby Brandon Butte, where they were lucky enough to spot bighorn sheep! The group also spotted sage grouse, burrowing owls, and bison as they toured Reserve highlights like the Prairie Union School.
Wild Weather: By The Numbers
6 – Miles above ground where you’ll find cumulonimbus clouds, the biggest clouds that can hold up to 500,000 tons of water.
15 – Miles away that a person can hear thunder rumble in the distance.
40 – Miles per hour that a thunderstorm can travel.
103 – Degrees that the temperature has changed in a single day in Montana.
1,800 – Thunderstorms happening at any one time in Earth’s atmosphere.
27,154 – Gallons of water that fall when one inch of rain falls on one acre of land.
Canadian Calves Joined by Newborns
The journey of 73 bison calves from Canada’s Elk Island National Park came to a joyful conclusion as they ran across their new home on the Reserve in April. Onlookers included volunteers with the LandMARK program, journalists with National Geographic, and neighbors and school groups from the nearby Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
This bison homecoming marks the third such transfer of animals from Elk Island. Plains bison were brought from Montana to Elk Island National Park (EINP) in 1907 after the Canadian government purchased some of the last living animals to ensure the survival of the species. Now that the EINP herd has reached its maximum size for available habitat, the park works with organizations around the world to reestablish bison.
Featured Donor: Allan Taylor
A westerner by birth and by choice, Dr. Allan Taylor grew up in western Colorado, at the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Fascinated since childhood by the West’s flora and fauna (which led him to become an amateur botanist), Dr. Taylor’s passions include a deep and abiding interest in Native American languages and cultures.
Celebrate! 22,000 Acres of Habitat Added
We’re delighted to announce the recent acquisition of approximately 22,000 acres of habitat, now known as Sun Prairie North. This area is located between several other APR regions and is an important step in our goal of habitat connectivity. It is home to a range of animals like pronghorn, mule deer, elk, prairie dogs, white tail deer, and many species of grassland birds. A large portion of Sun Prairie North is also in a sage grouse core habitat area. Conservation of sage grouse habitat is of great concern due to declining populations across the West.
With this addition, the Reserve now spans more than 300,000 acres! The Reserve team will soon begin to identify opportunities for biodiversity restoration such as restoring native vegetation and removing or changing fences to meet wildlife friendly standards and ease pronghorn migration. To learn how we assess biodiversity in grasslands, please visit the Reports section of the website to read about the Freese Scale.
LANDMARK Adventure Scientists: Notes from the Prairie
Through APR’s new collaboration with Adventurers & Scientists for Conservation, enthusiastic groups of LandMARK volunteers have been collecting data and living on the Reserve since February. The volunteers walk transects across the prairie keeping track of wildlife sightings on tablet devices and maintaining remote camera traps. In addition to helping inform management decisions, the experiences of adventure scientists also remind us of the uniqueness and power of the prairie landscape.
Climate Change on the Prairie: Your Questions Answered
Q: What happens to a large conserved landscape in a time of climate change?
Wild Again: The Struggle to Save The Black-Footed Ferret by David Jachowski
What We’re Reading
If you get a chance to spotlight for endangered black-footed ferrets with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Randy Matchett – take it. If you never get the chance, this book will put you at the front line of the gritty work it takes to save endangered species.