To learn more about the Nature Conservency and their current conservation efforts,

UPDATE: July 2003
The Nature Conservancy has raised $118,231 to date due to the generous support of Orvis customers and matching grants from Orvis and the Wolf Creek Foundation. Success has already been met in Montana, the birds’ summer home. Cattle ranchers now graze their cattle on the Conservancy’s 60,000-acre Matador Ranch, creating over 296,000 acres of protected habitat for curlews, prairie dogs, and other grassland birds. The Conservancy has also successfully protected 45,000 acres of wintering ground in the El Tokio Valley of Mexico. Current efforts are targeted toward easement acquisitions in the Mexico’s Saltillo Valley and local education.


Help the Long-Billed Curlew

The Problem
A cousin to the now-thought extinct Eskimo curlew, the long-billed curlew is a much more impressive specimen. Its wingspan is three feet. It weighs as much as a wood duck. Its eight-inch long curved bill is as adept at plucking berries as it is snatching grasshoppers. It is found in most of the western states where it rests in grasslands, and waters in both grasslands and coastal flats. Today, the curlew and a host of associated birds and mammals including the Black Footed Ferret, America's single rarest mammal, need protection. Their habitat has slowly dwindled. Conversion to agricultural production, fire suppression and incompatible grazing practices all have their place in todays economy as our increasing population earns its living from the land, but we do need to protect the last great places. The Nature Conservancy is working to turn that decline around, and they need our help.

The Solution
The Conservancy is purchasing Montana’s 60,000-acre Matador Ranch in the heart of one of the most vital breeding habitats for the long-billed curlew. The Matador is being managed as a wildlife friendly ranchland in keeping with the economic engine in this region of the country. To provide for its winter needs, the Conservancy is also working to protect 100,000 acres in the arid Saltillo Grasslands of northeastern Mexico amidst some of the best over-wintering habitat on the continent. During the winter months, flocks of long-billed curlews can be as large as 200 birds on the Saltillo Grasslands. Here, the Conservancy is working to acquire land and conservation easements of over 100,000 acres in the midst of some of the best over-wintering habitat on the continent for the most rapidly declining grassland birds, including the long-billed curlew.

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