Learn About Wildlife Disease

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The NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node is a collaborative project working to provide access to data on wildlife diseases, mortality events, and other critical information related to wildlife diseases. The audience is state and federal resource managers, animal disease specialists, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, physicians, public health workers, educators, and the general public.

Visit the Wildlife Disease Node to learn more about avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, West Nile Virus, and other diseases organized by species and type. Or, explore the Wildlife Health Monitoring Network, try the interactive maps, or search related publications.

Western Soundscapes

Western Soundscapes images
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The Western Soundscape Archive is a searchable web-based audio archive with a focus on the natural sounds of the western United States. Housed at the University of Utah's J. Willard Marriott Library, the recordings include representative sounds of more than 90% of the West's bird species, all of the region's frogs and toads, and more than 100 different types of mammals and reptiles, as well as ambient soundscapes and interviews.

NBII Library of Images from the Environment (LIFE)

NBII-LIFE Banner [Photo: NBII Library of images From the Environment]

The NBII Library of Images from the Environment is a growing collection of over 11,000 images of diverse, well-documented images of nature and the environment. Topics include animals, fungi and lichens, plants, microorganisms, interactions among species, landscapes , weather, research, environmental topics, and management.

Use the search box below and click "Submit" to start your search.

Animals and Plants of the Mountain Prairie Region

Prairie Dog <br> [Photo: John Good, Yellowstone Digital Slide File]
Prairie Dog
[Photo: John Good, Yellowstone Digital Slide File]

Throughout its broad range of landscapes, spanning from the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains, this region remains remarkably rich in its native biodiversity. Some charismatic species such as the grizzly bear, gray wolf, bull trout, black-footed ferret, and marbled godwit are threatened with extinction and have been protected by law. Others, such as elk, bison, salmonid fish, and whitebark pine face serious threats from diseases like brucellosis, whirling disease, and blister rust.

Indeed, over 1,000 vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant species have been identified by state wildlife agencies as species of Greatest Conservation Need (GCN). The Mountain Prairie Species of Greatest Conservation Need interactive application brings together resources from multiple authoritative sources including NatureServe and ITIS.

Painted Bunting [Photo: South Carolina DNR]Birds
The region is home to a diversity of year-round and migratory bird species.
Cutthroat Trout [Image: Greater Yellowstone Science Learning Center]Fishes
Explore the fishes of the region, including fishes of greatest conservation need.
Greenish Blue [Photo: Copyright, Paul Opler]Invertebrates
Learn more about invertebrates of the region, including resources for butterflies and moths.
Grizzly Bear [Photo: Jim Peaco, National Park Service]Mammals
Many mammals that are iconic wildlife species of the West inhabit the Mountain Prairie region.
Whitebark Pine [Photo: Big Sky Institute]Plants
The region's varied landscapes support a broad range of plant species.

Fish and Wildlife Agencies in the Mountain Prairie Region
Showing 24 Results
CollapseCentral Flyway Council
Description: From the Web site. "The Central Flyway Council will provide leadership in the international conservation of migratory game birds and build partnerships among public and private groups interested in this valuable wildlife resource." The Web site contains facts, philosophies, and information about the Council, as well as information about waterfowl, other migratory game birds and their management.
Resource Type: Federal Government Agencies (U.S.), Foreign Government Agencies, State Government Agencies (U.S.)
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Central Flyway Council
ExpandInteragency Grizzly Bear Study Team
ExpandMontana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
ExpandMontana Department of Natural Resources: Water Resources Division
ExpandMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
ExpandMontana Natural Heritage Program
ExpandMontana Noxious Weed Program
ExpandNebraska Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed Program
ExpandNebraska Department of Natural Resources: Ground Water
ExpandNebraska Department of Natural Resources: Surface Water
ExpandNorth Dakota Department of Agriculture Noxious Weeds Division
ExpandNorth Dakota Game and Fish Department
ExpandNorth Dakota State Water Commission
ExpandSouth Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Ground Water Quality Program
ExpandSouth Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources: Water Rights Program
ExpandSouth Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks
ExpandSouth Dakota Geographic Information Systems
ExpandSouth Dakota Governor's Drought Task Force
ExpandSouth Dakota State and Local Noxious Weeds and Pests
ExpandWyoming Game and Fish Department
ExpandWyoming Pest Detection Program
ExpandWyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources
ExpandWyoming Water Development Commission
ExpandWyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust
Species Profiles from the Mountain Prairie Region
Showing 10 of 43 ( Show All )
CollapseAll About Birds: Clark's Nutcracker
Description: The Cornell University Lab of Ornithology "All About Birds" program is an extensive resource about birds, with birding tips, identification guides, suggested birding spots, and species accounts. This species account describes the Clark's nutcracker, a highly specialized pine seed feeder in high elevation forests of the western United States. The account includes the nutcracker's size, appearance, sound, range, habitat, food, and behavior, as well as maps and photographs.
Resource Type: Life Histories and Species Profiles
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Cornell University
ExpandAmerican Bird Conservancy Watchlist Species Account: Sprague's Pipit
ExpandAmphibian Home Page of the Intermountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service
ExpandAquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
ExpandAquatic Invertebrate Species of Concern on USFS Northern Region Lands
ExpandAtlas of North Dakota Butterflies
ExpandBear Ecology in the Greater Yellowstone and Greater Glacier Ecosystems
ExpandBison in Yellowstone
ExpandBlack-footed Ferret Recovery Program
ExpandButterflies of Glacier National Park, Montana

The Grizzly and Whitebark Pine

Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horibilis)
[Photo: Jim Peaco, National Park Service]

The grizzly bear is an omnivore, eating both plants and animals. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of its diet is green vegetation, nuts, seeds, berries, and roots. In parts of their range, such as the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, grizzly bears depend so heavily on whitebark pine seeds that their survival has been linked to the presence of whitebark pine (Mattson and Reinhart 1997).

However, grizzly bears do not collect the seeds themselves; bears depend on red squirrels who collect the seed cones and store them in middens, which are piles of cones and debris that have accumulated over years of use (Koteen 2002; Mattson and Jonkel 1990; Mattson and Reinhart 1994). Grizzly bears will take cones from these middens, usually following squirrels to locate them (Mattson, Kendall and Reinhart 2001).

Whitebark pine seeds are large and more than 50% fat, providing a high-energy food source (Lanner and Gilbert 1994). In a good cone crop year, grizzlies will spend the fall feeding almost exclusively on whitebark pine seeds (Tomback, Arno and Keane 2001). Because female grizzlies rely on sufficient fat stores to get through both winter and reproduction (Mattson, Kendall and Reinhart 2001), female grizzly bears eat approximately twice the amount of whitebark pine seeds as male grizzlies (Mattson 2000).


  • Koteen, L. (2002). Climate Change, Whitebark Pine, and Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wildlife Responses to Climate Change: North American Case Studies. S. S. a. R. TL. Washington, Island Press: 343-414.
  • Lanner, R.M. and B.K. Gilbert (1994). Nutritive value of whitebark pine seeds and the question of their variable dormancy. In: Schmidt, W. and Holtmeier, F.-K., compilers. Proceedings - International workshop on subalpine stone pines and their environment: The status of our knowledge. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah: 206-211.
  • Mattson, D.J. (2000). Causes and consequences of dietary differences among Yellowstone grizzly bears. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Idaho, Moscow.
  • Mattson, D.J. and C. Jonkel (1990). Stone pines and bears. In: Schmidt, W. and McDonald, K., eds., Symposium on Whitebark Pine Ecosystems: Ecology and Management of a High Mountain Resource. Ogden, UT: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 223-236.
  • Mattson, D.J. and D.P. Reinhart (1994). Bear use of whitebark pine seeds in North America. In: Schmidt, W. and Holtmeier, F.-K., compilers. Proceedings - International workshop on subalpine stone pines and their environment: the status of our knowledge. USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Ogden, Utah: 212-220.
  • Mattson, D.J. and D.P. Reinhart (1997). Excavation of red squirrel middens by grizzly bears in the whitebark pine zone. Journal of Applied Ecology 34:926-940.
  • Mattson, D.J., K.C. Kendall and D.P. Reinhart (2001). Whitebark Pine, Grizzly Bears, and Red Squirrels. Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration. T. DF., A. SF. a. K. RE. Washington, Island Press: 121-136.
  • Tomback, D.F., Stephen F. Arno and Robert E. Keane (2001). The Compelling Case for Management Intervention. Whitebark Pine Communities: Ecology and Restoration. T. DF., A. SF. a. K. RE. Washington, Island Press: 3-25.

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