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Priority Species



The 12 priority animal species are shown above. Chicago Wilderness is currently in the process of selecting priority plants and fungi.


The essential lands and waters of Chicago Wilderness support thousands of native species. Many of these species face multiple threats to their long-term survival. By focusing collectively on a targeted group of plants, animals, and fungi, we aim to improve their health and habitats. You can help.

Progress thus far

  • developed set of species selection criteria with detailed input from more than 60 Chicago Wilderness members
  • held an open nomination process for candidate animal species – received 76 nominations resulting in 43 unique species
  • convened more than 40 stakeholders to review and rank the nominated animal species; advisors finalized the list
  • initiated priority plant and fungi selection process

2020 Goals

  • monitoring program: regionally coordinated
  • modeled landscape connectivity
  • research underway-critical questions
  • advance recovery goals through conservation action
  • pursuing improved population trends
  • relevant outreach tools in place

Metrics (Examples)

  • population trends
  • habitat availability & quality
  • species abundance & distribution


Lead Partners: Audubon Great Lakes| The Field Museum | Illinois Audubon Society| Illinois Natural History Survey | Lake County Forest Preserves | Lincoln Park Zoo | National Great Rivers Research and Education Center | The Nature Conservancy, Illinois Chapter | Openlands | Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum | U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Advisors: Chicago Botanic Garden | Forest Preserve District of Kane County | Shedd Aquarium | USDA Forest Service