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Published on: Mar. 20, 2012

skyscrapers as acceptable as steep cliffs, the peregrines’ preferred habitat. As a result of imprinting those sites on a number of nesting peregrines, these birds now return to the city skylines to bear their young, much to the enjoyment of many city-dwelling nature lovers.

All Wildlife Conservation

Today’s conservationists focus on conserving all plants and animals, and the natural systems on which they depend. This “all wildlife” conservation approach differs from traditional fish and wildlife management, which focused on restoring single species. After all, the survival of one plant or animal is often inextricably linked to the health and well being of the entire ecosystem.

“I expect many people think the Department’s expertise focuses on single species, because some of the best known success stories involve bringing back wildlife that we now highly value,” says John Hoskins, retired MDC director. “But today we strive to conserve wildlife in a broader sense—trees, insects, wildflowers, grasses, animals and all the rest. The descriptive phrase often heard is ‘preserve and restore our state’s biodiversity.’ ”

Wildlife Restoration Continues Today

MDC continues important restoration and conservation efforts today, from the more headline-grabbing species, such as elk, to the tiniest insects. Last year, the Department, in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, relocated 34 wild elk from the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Kentucky to Missouri’s Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Decades of ecological restoration have returned Peck Ranch to conditions similar to those that existed here when elk last trod the Ozark hills 150 years ago.

But “smaller” successes are just as important to conserving Missouri’s complex webs of life. The eastern collared lizards, which almost disappeared from the Ozarks due to overgrown glades, are now more common and widespread due to glade restoration and a successful reintroduction program.

Barn owl populations increased in the 1990s after nest boxes were more widely provided. Although barn owl numbers remain low across the state, they were recently removed from the state endangered species list—illustrating how even small efforts can help wildlife rebound.

Small fens in the Ozarks were restored to help the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly, in a partnership with landowners and the U.S. Forest Service. This beautiful dragonfly needs very specific wetland habitat that includes wet soils with crayfish burrows. By removing invading trees and keeping the fens open, we ensure the survival of both the crayfish

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