Endangered Species Program
Conserving the Nature of America

Stories from - MONTANA

It Takes a Village to Save a Fish

Montana's Arctic grayling are special fish. For starters, scientists believe that Arctic grayling migrated to North America much like our human ancestors: over the Beringia land bridge from Asia, possibly as far back as 3 million years ago. Read More

Stories from - MONTANA

Montana Grizzlies on the Road to Recovery

While the Yellowstone grizzly bears are well-known in the United States, the largest population of grizzlies in the lower 48 states actually lives in northwestern Montana, on the border of Canada... Read More

Stories from - MONTANA

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Living with Grizzlies

The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) is the creature of folklore and legends as a symbol of power, freedom and invincibility. Grizzlies became the symbol of... Read More

Featured Species in Montana

Canada lynx , photo credit: Michael Zahra

Canada lynx

The Canada lynx is a medium-sized cat, similar to the bobcat. It has longer legs and very large well-furred paws, impressive adaptations for maneuvering through deep winter snow. While their name suggests otherwise, the historical and present North American range of the Canada lynx includes Alaska, Canada, and many of the other northern 48 states.  More »


Canada lynx.

Photo credit: Michael Zahra

Whooping crane  , Photo credit: USFWS

Whooping crane

The whooping crane is one of the most, if not the most, endangered birds in North America. A combination of hunting and habitat loss nearly drove the species to extinction in the 1940s. Thanks to the hard work of federal, state, and nongovernmental groups, there are now about 250 whooping cranes living in the wild and another 150 whoopers in captivity. More »


Whooping crane.

Photo credit: USFWS

Grizzly bear , photo credit: USGS

Grizzly bear

Historically, there were around 50,000 grizzly bears in North America. Today, there are 1,000-1,200 grizzly bears remaining in five separate populations in the lower 48 states.     More »


Grizzly bear.

Photo credit: USGS

Black-footed ferret, Photo credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

Black-footed ferret

The black-footed ferret was considered extinct or nearly extinct when a small population was located in Mellette County, South Dakota in 1964. Still, the black-footed ferret remains one of the most endangered mammals in North America.

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Black-footed ferret.

Photo credit: Ryan Hagerty, USFWS

Pallid sturgeon , photo credit:  Ken Bouc, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Pallid sturgeon

Pallid sturgeon are slow growing fish that feed primarily on small fish and immature aquatic insects. This species of sturgeon is seldom seen and is one of the least understood fish in the Missouri and Mississippi River drainages.     More »


Pallid sturgeon.

Photo credit: Ken Bouc, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission

Partnership Stories in Montana

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Bull Trout: Jewel in the Crown

A short trailer for the Flathead Valley Trout Unlimited documentary Jewel in The Crown. The film describes the plight of native bull trout in the Flathead River system through interviews with anglers and managers. More »

Found in Montana

  • Spalding's catchfly. Photo credit: C. Menke, USFS

    Spalding's catchfly (Silene spaldingii) is a long-lived perennial plant that grows in Palouse Prairie grasslands. The plant is mainly a species of the Palouse Prairie. In Montana, the species is known to four counties—Flathead, Lake, Lincoln, and Sanders. Agricultural and urban development, livestock and native ungulate grazing and trampling, herbicide treatment, and competition from non-native plants have all contributed to the decline of this species.

    Photo credit: C. Menke, USFS

  • Black-footed ferrets. Photo credit: Kimberly Tamkun, USFWS

    Black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) once occurred across a large area of the American West, wherever prairie dogs occurred. Because ferrets rely on prairie dogs for food and shelter, their historical fate was to decline simultaneously with prairie dog populations that were displaced by farming, removed to limit grazing competition with domestic livestock, or devastated by disease. The extraordinary comeback of the species – from fewer than 20 known individuals in the wild to over 1,000 today – demonstrates the success of cooperative partnerships with private landowners and an outstanding captive breeding program.

    Photo credit: Kimberly Tamkun, USFWS

See other species listed in Montana
Last updated: June 4, 2020