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Wildlands Network was born that day. Led by the Society of Conservation Biology’s founder Dr. Michael Soule′ and Earth First co-founder Dave Foreman, this team of activists and scientists soon spread a sobering insight throughout the conservation movement: North America’s systems of parks and other protected areas were too small and disconnected to save life on Earth. Even Yellowstone National Park could not support a full array of native species over time.
As one of the biggest and boldest conservation goals of our time, our founders were set to stitch back together the ecological fabric of North America. They outlined with broad strokes the Eastern, Western, Pacific, and Boreal Wildways, and identified a conservation blueprint that would reconnect nature within those ribbons of renewal.
They called this the 3Cs of Conservation, which includes Connectivity - made possible through wildlife corridors or wildways; core habitat areas, as in big Wilderness Areas or National Parks, and; carnivores, especially the large predators like wolves, bears, cougars and jaguar that play critical roles in their ecosystems. We call these animals keystone species for when removed from the landscape, the entire ecosystem collapses.
Fully acknowledging that addressing an escalating extinction crisis and knitting back together North America was much too big for any one group, we’ve forged more than 30 continental conservation collaborations all over the world. Today, we are stitching together islands of protected areas through public and private land protections, conservation easements, wildlife crossings over and under highways, and inserting connectivity legislation into state and federal conservation management plans.
Wildlands Network sits on the Red Wolf Recovery Team, and is tirelessly working to stop the US Fish and Wildlife from abandoning recovery efforts for the world’s most endangered canid – the 45 remaining wild wolves in the southeastern US.
We also are part of the Lobo Coalition, a group of NGOs that were instrumental in a Mexican wolf reintroduction effort back into the Blue Range Recovery Area in 1998, and are working to restore cougars back into the east and facilitate movement of Florida panthers north to historical ranges.
We fund a community-based conservation lease in northern Chihuahua, Mexico that stopped the uncontrolled logging of thousands of acres of old growth forest habitat critical for thick-billed parrots, jaguars, pumas and ocelots.
We work with dedicated wildlands philanthropists to protect and expand the Northern Jaguar Reserve, a 50,000+-acre sanctuary for four native cats and some of northern Mexico’s wildest habitat.
We’re leading a Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument campaign to protect a huge expanse of the canyon’s watershed and wildlife habitat from uranium mining and logging of ancient ponderosa pine forests.
Wildlands Network works with state Departments of Transportation to inform placement and design of wildlife overpasses and underpasses to decrease the 350 million wildlife-vehicle collisions occurring on our roads each year.
Wildlands Network has succeeded in rewilding the conservation movement:
we’ve inspired, launched and continue to inform nearly 30 conservation collaborations throughout the world who now approach conservation plans from a large-scale perspective instead of working in isolation on postage stamp-sized efforts.
But we’ve not yet succeeded in rewilding all of North America. We’re winning in places but not fast enough. To keep up with the challenges and changes confronting the natural world, we’re growing and diversifying the community we need to help implement our bold vision.
Please join us today. Help us rneconnect and rewild North America. We can’t do this without you. Visit wildlandsnetwork.org to become a member and for more information on how you can help.
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