Defenders Mourns Tragic Loss of David Gaillard

Carnivore conservation expert killed in avalanche outside Yellowstone

BOZEMAN, Mont. (Jan. 3, 2012) — Defenders of Wildlife mourns the passing of David Gaillard. Dave was buried in an avalanche Saturday afternoon while cross-country skiing near Pilot Peak in the Shoshone National Forest south of Cooke City, Montana.

Dave had been the Northern Rockies Representative in Bozeman, Montana for Defenders of Wildlife since 2007. Prior to coming to Defenders, Dave worked on carnivore conservation in the Northern Rockies region for a number of organizations since 1991. Dave was a leading champion for the conservation of some of the smaller and lesser known carnivores in the region – lynx, wolverines, fishers, and martens. Dave was very generous with his time and talents and worked on many other issues including wildlife adaptation to climate change, state wildlife action plans, and habitat conservation plans.

Dave was a great, long-standing, and effective conservation advocate, with a kind and generous heart, a quiet but hilarious sense of humor, and a warm and friendly demeanor. One of Dave’s highest priorities was to get people in the conservation community and far beyond to work more closely, effectively and cordially together, as evidenced by his work to bring wolverine researchers, managers, educators, and advocates together to form the Wolverine Network (

Dave was also a strong family man and community member.

Dave’s passing is a great loss for the conservation community, particularly the species he championed the most – lynx, wolverines, and fishers. It is a great loss for his family, many friends, and the Bozeman community. We are grateful for the time we had working with and getting to know Dave as a colleague and a friend. We express our condolences to Dave’s family, and to his friends and colleagues.

To learn more about Dave’s work for Defenders, visit his staff profile and recent blog posts. Click here to view a photo of Dave.

Read the full story reported by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and a touching tribute from freelance writer and friend Todd Wilkinson.

2 Responses to “Defenders Mourns Tragic Loss of David Gaillard”

  1. chrissy cook

    My family wishes to offer our condolences to all of Davids family and friends. What a great loss for them and the wildlife. God Bless!!!

  2. inge lewis

    That is awful news. My condolences to all of Davids family, friends and to all the staff of Defenders of Wildlife. It is so very sad to loose such an conservation advocate who spoke up for preserving our beautiful animals.
    So sorry for your loss.
    R.I.P. David Gaillard

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