A white-tailed deer fawn lies curled in grass and is surrounded by dandelions.
White-tailed deer fawn Fawns have spots to help them camouflage. © Eric McBride/TNC Photo Contest 2023

Stories in Idaho

Wildlife Across Idaho

From the Panhandle to the Owyhees, Idaho is home to extraordinary animals.

Idaho’s wildlife is as diverse as the ecosystems that support them. From migrating species like pronghorn or wild salmon that travel enormous distances, to lesser known species that are uniquely adapted to local conditions, our state is known for its incredible wildlife. All of them play a vital role in nature and require healthy natural systems to survive. Ensuring healthy habitat for wildlife is one of the many reasons why conserving land, protecting water and taking climate action are so important to the well-being of animals, plants and people.

Explore four unique ecosystems in Idaho and discover some of the iconic—and underrated—species that call these habitats home. This is not an exhaustive guide—you may find certain animals in other habitats than where they are listed here. Click the photos to learn more about each animal!

Found in the Forest

Forests cover over 40% of Idaho’s land—about 21.5 million acres. In the Panhandle, trees thrive in the cool, moist climate, while forests in central and southern Idaho are adapted to a drier, more arid climate.

Forests clean our air, filter our drinking water and sustain animal and human communities alike. Improving the health of our forests is crucial for both preserving biodiversity and helping solve climate change.

Scurrying in the Sagebrush Sea

The Sagebrush Sea is a complex vegetation network—a rich, diverse mix including sagebrush, bunchgrasses and wildflowers. 

Some of the native animals in this habitat, like the greater sage grouse, can survive nowhere else. However, the Sagebrush Sea is one of the most imperiled ecosystems in North America, losing millions of acres each year to invasive species, development, climate change and other factors. Learn more about TNC’s work to protect this vital landscape.

In the Aquatic Zone

Aquatic ecosystems encompass not only the water but also the land around it, like wetlands. Only 1% of Idaho is considered wetlands but 75% of Idaho’s wildlife species depend on wetlands at some point in their life.

TNC’s Silver Creek Preserve is a remarkable example of a high-desert, spring-fed aquatic environment with abundant wildlife. For more than 40 years, TNC has stewarded and restored Silver Creek to a thriving ecosystem for wild trout, hundreds of bird species and animals like coyotes, bobcats and moose.

The City Life

Urban wildlife survive in the city like their cousins do in remote areas—they need food, water and shelter. Parks, backyards, open space and more can provide this! 

Conservation efforts around urban areas can make a big impact for wildlife. In Boise, TNC has partnered with Boise State University’s Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) to make improvements at the Diane Moore Nature Center, a 22-acre natural area managed by IBO, located on the Boise River. A newly constructed side channel and the restoration of native plants benefit fish, birds and wildlife that live in this environment.