For the more information about the geologic resources of the National Park Service, please visit

Saving Migrations: Questions to Ponder

To preserve a species' migration, conservation efforts must target the species at a broad level that goes far beyond national park boundaries. Issues range from philosophical beliefs, to baseline needs, to biological unknowns, to social concerns and attitudes, with questions as basic as how such conservation could be achieved—and if it should even be attempted.

Click on each question to learn more:

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch butterfly. Photo by USFWS/Greg Thompson.

What do we want to conserve?

  • If a species' migration is lost, but not the species itself, should efforts focus on migratory restoration?
  • Should conservation programs be aimed at rare or abundant migrations?
  • Should conservation programs focus on all or only selected migrations (and what criteria should be used to select?)

What do you think?


Elk in Yellowstone National Park

What data do we need?

  • Which National Park units are central to saving migrations?
  • What risks (such as disease, parasites, costs, threats) should be assessed?
  • What species presently exist in a national park and what species have already been lost?

Are there additional gaps in our data?



Are all questions relevant?

  • How variable are migrations?
  • How do we identify which places are critical along a migration path?
  • How will climate change affect the conservation of migration?

Food for thought...



What are the social aspects?

  • Who is affected by animal migrations and how?
  • What attitudes exist within and beyond national park lands?
  • How can the National Park Service partner with other federal and state agencies, as well as with nongovernment organizations, private citizens, or other countries?

How are you affected by migrating animals?


NPS Arrowhead Logo

How is the National Park Service taking action?

The National Park Service:

  • Is working with scientists around the world to assess the status of migratory species that use parks and adjacent lands.
  • A Service-wide ornithologist will work with private, federal, and international partners to preserve migratory birds and their habitats.
  • Is working to develop a strategy for a long-term approach to addressing many of the issues facing migratory species.
  • Will collaborate with the scientific community to identify where we should focus stewardship efforts of migratory species.

The National Park Service is an active partner in leading the way to preserve migratory species. Examples of efforts include:

  • Partners in Flight
  • North American Bird Conservation Initiative
  • Fishery Management Councils
  • North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
  • Ungulate management research in Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone National Parks
  • Desert bighorn connectivity studies
  • Public involvement in biodiversity and citizen science programs in parks


Man with binoculars.

How can you help?

  • Create natural habitat in your back yards by planting native plants.
  • Get involved in community planning.
  • Consider alternatives to pesticide use.
  • Volunteer for citizen science projects in parks.
  • Celebrate and support International Migratory Bird Day events.


Last Updated: December 21, 2010