OverviewFrom the earliest wildlife surveys led by George Melendez Wright, wildlife biologists have worked to preserve wildlife species in National Parks. At the heart of the National Park Service’s mission is its founding mandate to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein” in an unimpaired condition so that they might be enjoyed by present and future generations. We have come to understand that conserving wildlife means conserving the whole native system of which it is but a part. Wildlife is managed in concert with the other natural resources of a park in order to maintain all the components and processes of naturally evolving ecosystems, including the natural abundance, diversity, and genetic and ecological integrity of the plant and animal species native to those ecosystems.
Whenever possible, natural processes are relied upon to maintain native plant and animal species and influence natural fluctuations in populations of these species. However, active management may become necessary:
Although not always apparent to visitors, wildlife management activities occur in nearly every unit of the National Park System. The Wildlife Management Program is available to provide scientific input to parks on wildlife management plans and to provide service-wide policy guidance on appropriate management activities. Climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation in areas surrounding parks, and introduction of exotic species confound the challenges to successful wildlife management.