Last week, Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow (WTFT) enthusiastically presented two separate checks to advance wildlife conservation projects in the state of Wyoming. WTFT founder Taylor Phillips, and The WYldlife Fund President Chris McBarnes, traveled to Cody, WY to attend the Wyoming Game & Fish Commission meeting, where they presented the checks.
Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow is currently engaging the tourism industry across the state to contribute to wildlife conservation projects, further developing this important constituency.
The first check, for $15,000, was given to the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation (JHWF) to fund their sage-grouse fence inventory project. This project aims to prevent future losses of the declining Greater Sage-Grouse population by inventorying and removing unused or problem fences within the species’ migratory habitat. Livestock fence wires can be a significant cause of sage-grouse mortality due to birds hitting the wires while in flight, and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, along with collaborators from Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest, plans to reduce these mortalities through project efforts.
From left to right: Chris McBarnes, President of The WYldlife Fund; Taylor Phillips, Founder of Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow; Renee Seidler, Executive Director of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation; Kate Gersh, Associate Director of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation; Brian Nesvik, Director of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department; Gay Lynn Byrd, Commissioner of the Wyoming Game & Fish Deparment; Doug Brimeyer, Deputy Division Chief of Wildlife of the Wyoming Game & Fish Deparment; Kenneth Roberts, Commissioner of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
“The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation is thrilled to receive support from WTFT,” said Kate Gersh, Associate Director of JHWF. “We think it’s fantastic that WTFT represents partnership with the private business sector, which is providing generous philanthropy for the benefit of wildlife conservation in Wyoming. Recent funding from WTFT will be spent on completing a fence inventory and mapping layer in sage-grouse habitat found within Grand Teton National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The result of this effort will parlay into fence removal or modifications involving JHWF volunteers, to improve sage-grouse habitat in Jackson Hole. Thank you WTFT and all your funders, we are grateful!”
The second check, for $20,000, was presented to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department (WGFD) for their elk collaring project. This project aims to better understand the migration patterns of the Jackson elk herd, one of the largest elk herds in North America. The population numbers approximately 11,000 animals, and the herd migrates over an expansive area, making management and conservation challenging. By radio-collaring individuals in the herd, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, along with numerous other collaborators, will better understand the migration patterns of the Jackson elk herd, and then use this information to develop management practices.
From left to right: Chris McBarnes; Doug Brimeyer; Rick King, Chief of Wildlife of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department; Taylor Phillips; Brian Nesvik; and Gay Lynn Byrd.
“It can be especially difficult to fund long-term projects such as monitoring the changing movements and distribution of the Jackson Elk Herd,” said Alyson Courtemanch, Wildlife Biologist with WGFD. “Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow is helping fill a critical need for funding to help us continue to make the best management and conservation decisions we can for elk, which is perhaps the most iconic wildlife species in Jackson Hole.”
WTFT is thrilled to present these checks to further wildlife conservation within the state. The amount of success and support we have seen in our first year has been staggering, and we are excited to keep this momentum going and continue to make a difference in the conservation of Wyoming’s incredible wildlife.
Wildlife Tourism for Tomorrow is a flagship initiative of The WYldlife Fund, a partner nonprofit to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department that administers funds to advance wildlife projects across the state.