Image of Swans being released into the wild

One of the things I’m most excited about these days is the work the Ricketts Conservation Foundation is doing to support wildlife and wilderness areas.  And one of our most important current initiatives is The Swan Project, a multi-year partnership between The Ricketts Conservation Foundation and The Wyoming Wetlands Society to increase the number of Trumpeter Swans in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Photos of Joe Ricketts Swan Project

The project kicked off in 2018 when we began the “Connecting the Dots” initiative.  There are close to 1,000 Trumpeter Swans in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but they’re spread across a large area and act as separate subpopulations.  The idea was to jump start the connections between these subpopulations by introducing captive-raised birds in good habitat between existing subpopulations. 

As part of all this, we conducted aerial surveys of Trumpeter Swan habitat so we can now better monitor the population and locate our released birds. Recent flights have found new pairs of released birds in remote areas that would be difficult to access otherwise. These results confirm that the approach we’re taking is working!  It’s still early days of this ten-year project but these initial results give us confidence that The Swan Project will succeed in creating a single, interconnected population that will remain secure for the long term.

By working with another non-profit and several state and federal agencies, The Swan Project represents just the sort of private-public partnership I believe will be critical to the future of wildlife conservation while honoring our core belief that conservation is everyone’s responsibility.

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