Species

Conservation programs funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation benefit hundreds of species and the habitats they depend on across the United States. NFWF has developed conservation strategies with measurable outcomes that track progress for many of these species. These species are good indicators of healthy habitats.

These strategies and metrics can be found in NFWF’s business plans developed by scientists and other experts, and approved by the Foundation's Board of Directors. NFWF programs fund conservation grants that implement the strategies and actions identified in the business plan.

Click on the species to learn a little about it, and which programs fund grants to conserve the species and its habitat.

Bay-breasted warbler

Bay-breasted warbler


Bay-breasted warblers nest in spruce and fir forests across Canada, and can be found in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Adirondack Park of New York. While they occupy similar habitats as Cape May and blackpoll warblers, bay-breasted warblers in particular forage at the inner mid-level, and nest in the lower third-level, of trees.

Desert bighorn sheep

Desert bighorn sheep


Desert bighorn sheep are a distinct subspecies of bighorn sheep that inhabit hot, dry mountain ranges in North America and are well-adapted to survive in these extreme environments, including the ability to go several days without water. While both sexes develop horns, the horns of an adult male are much larger, and used for fighting and as tools to break open cacti while foraging.

Grizzly bear

Grizzly bear


Grizzly bears are the North American subspecies of brown bears which roam throughout Canada and northwestern America. Grizzlies are omnivores, feeding on insects and deer alike. Come winter they descend into a deep sleep called torpor where they do not eat or drink until they emerge in the spring.

Spectacled eider
Credit: Mick Thompson

Spectacled eider


Spectacled eiders are a stunning and relatively rare seaduck, nesting on coastal tundra locations of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and north slope of Alaska, as well as Russia. Spectacled eiders were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993 due to observed population declines, and are currently at risk to oil and gas development in the NPRA, as well as climate change-induced impacts in breeding season, food availability and north slope predator populations.

Gopher tortoise

Gopher tortoise


Gopher tortoise are long-lived reptiles native to the upland pine forests of the southeastern United States. Considered a keystone species, more than 350 species of wildlife rely on their their complex burrow systems for shelter and protection, which makes widespread population declines of gopher tortoise of special conservation concern.

Coosa creekshell
Credit: Georgia Wildlife Resources Division

Villosa mussels (Coosa creekshell)


The Coosa creekshell is a species of freshwater mussel that are endemic to the Coosa River Drainage in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Increased sedimentation and reduced aquatic connectivity for host fishes like sunfish and sculpins have caused population declines throughout their range.

Green sea turtle

Green sea turtle


Green sea turtles are found around the world, nesting in more than 80 counties including on U.S. beaches, where sustained conservation efforts have contributed to increasing populations in Florida, Hawaii and across all five U.S. territories. Reaching more than 300 pounds, these gentle giants feed almost exclusively on seagrasses and algae.

Hawksbill sea turtle

Sea turtles


There are seven different species of sea turtles, six of which are found in U.S. waters and are listed as threatened or endangered in a least a portion of their circumglobal range. These species include leatherback, loggerhead, Kemp’s ridley, olive ridley, green and hawksbill. For more than 100 million years, sea turtles have migrated long-distances over temperate and tropical oceans, spending most of their time at sea but returning to natal beaches to lay eggs.

Northern long-eared bat
Credit: USFWS/Ann Froschauer

Northern long-eared bat


Northern long-eared bats are native to the old growth forests of the eastern and north-central United States. Populations in the northeastern United States have been severely affected by white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects their hibernation, which led to their listing as an endangered species in 2015.

Greater sage grouse

Greater sage-grouse


The greater sage-grouse is a sagebrush-dependent upland game bird and largest of the grouse species. Known for its theatrical mating displays on "leks" or breeding grounds, populations have been in decline due to loss of sagebrush habitat, and their ability to serve as an umbrella species for other sagebrush wildlife emphasizes the need to restore and protect their habitats.

Eastern oyster

Eastern oyster


Eastern oysters have played a particularly prominent role in the culture, history, and economy of the Chesapeake Bay and other areas throughout the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Reefs serve as important habitat for a variety of aquatic species. However, overharvesting, disease and declines in estuarine and bottom habitats have ravaged native oyster populations. Eastern oysters now represent less than 2 percent of their peak historical populations.

Least tern

Least tern


Least terns are a small migratory North American tern with three distinct populations - Atlantic coastal, interior and southern California. They are a vocal, colonial seabird vulnerable to development, human disturbance and predation on coastal nesting beaches. In some locations, least terns have begun successfully nesting on flat gravel roofs and are in general responsive to management actions.