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Rare and Endangered Wildlife

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Staff in the Division of Fish & Wildlife lead statewide programs to benefit Indiana’s nearly 160 species of greatest conservation need in the following four species groups: mammals, birds, reptiles/amphibians, and fish/freshwater mussels. These programs manage and conserve Indiana’s nongame and endangered species and their habitats.

Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund 40 Stories

The year 2022 marked the 40th anniversary of the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. We celebrated the milestone by sharing 40 Stories that featured the many conservation successes made possible by donors, partners, and volunteers.



nongame animal is any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, and crustacean that is not hunted or trapped for sport or commercial use.

A Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) is one that is listed by the Indiana DNR as endangered or special concern.

Endangered species are any animal species whose prospects for survival or recruitment within the state are in immediate jeopardy and are in danger of disappearing from the state.

Special concern species are those that require monitoring because of known/suspected limited abundance or distribution; have had a recent change in legal listing status; or have had a change to the required habitat needed for survival. Special concern species do not receive legal protection under the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.


  • In 1973, the Indiana state legislature passed the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act (IC 14-22-34), which authorized the Indiana DNR to develop programs to manage and conserve nongame and endangered species.
  • In 1982, the state legislature established the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund. This dedicated fund supports nongame and endangered species conservation in Indiana. It does not receive any state tax dollars and is supported entirely by voluntary contributions. Hoosiers have generously donated more than $13 million since the Nongame Wildlife Fund was established.
  • In 1986, the Indiana DNR signed an Endangered Species Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). As a result, for the first time, Indiana was eligible to receive federal matching funds for projects to benefit species listed by the federal government.
  • Since 2001, additional federal funds have come to Indiana through the State and Tribal Wildlife Grant program, which is also administered by the USFWS. These dollars must be used to benefit a state’s SGCN, as identified in its Wildlife Action Plan. To date, Indiana has received more than $20 million in State and Tribal Wildlife Grant funds.

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