Sinapu celebrates 15 years of working with wildlife

Kimberly Riggs, executive director of Sinapu, in the group’s Boulder offices.
Kimberly Riggs

Photo by Paul Aiken


Sinapu, named after the Ute word for wolves, is dedicated to the restoration and protection of native carnivores and their wild habitat in the Southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming. Founded in Boulder in 1991, Sinapu advances wildlife stewardship through a synergistic combination public of advocacy, public outreach, science and law and education.


Sinapu serves people who care about native wildlife and healthy wild lands in the American West. In essence, we aim to help turn the tide against cascading ecological deterioration throughout the nation, and here in Colorado, of America`s once robust wild landscapes.

Native carnivores are critical to wild nature. Consider one example: in less than a decade after the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, aspens and willows are making a comeback in many streamside areas, in turn triggering a resurgence of beavers and migrant songbirds, which need the young aspens and willows. Sinapu`s advocacy work is rooted in a keen understanding of the ecological importance of wolves — and all of the region`s native carnivores.

Because carnivores are so important to the systems they evolved with, Sinapu`s work stretches beyond wolves to embrace a variety of species including mountain lions, Canada lynx, black bears, coyotes and a variety of smaller carnivores. Sinapu`s staff and volunteers consider it an honor to serve intact ecosystems in this way.


Founded in 1991 with the overarching goal of restoring wolves to Colorado, by the late 1990s Sinapu`s mission evolved to include protecting a variety of native carnivore species in the region. Today, a staff of four lead this lean and effective grassroots organization on a budget of less than $250,000.


Sinapu fills a unique niche in the world of conservation advocacy. We are the only group in the Southern Rockies dedicated full-time, day-in and day-out to stewardship of the region`s native carnivores. As Sinapu celebrates 15 years of working for the wild, we are proud to have helped to greatly increase public awareness of the role and importance of wild carnivores. We`ve opened constructive lines of communication with ranchers who have traditionally been loath to accept wolves and other native carnivores on their land. We`ve helped reduce hunting and trapping of carnivore species, including mountain lions. We`ve also gone to court when all other avenues have failed to protect wildlife. For all of this, we couldn`t be prouder.


Sinapu does a tremendous amount of science-based advocacy work and public education — but it costs money. As a nonprofit, we constantly work to build our funding base while keeping our operating costs down. Sinapu`s efforts could not succeed without generous support from people who care about wildlife and wild places. To learn more about Sinapu, or to make a donation, please visit:

Additionally, Sinapu is seeking volunteers to serve on our board of directors, to carry out administrative projects in our Boulder office, and to assist our program staff with key campaigns as they arise. We especially desire volunteers who have experience in fundraising, grant writing, business development, and graphic design.


Sinapu`s vision spans more than decades — it spans generations. In the near-term, we`ll be forging ahead to restore wolves to the Southern Rockies, fighting to protect female mountain lions and their kittens, struggling to keep bureaucrats from opening loopholes in the state`s constitutional ban on trapping, and fostering public coexistence with large carnivores across the breadth of our magnificent region.

Sinapu will continue to carry the dream of healthy, howling wild places in the Southern Rockies. Our success is measured by the sum total of many acts of passion and generosity from supporters and volunteers who share our dream of a wilder tomorrow. We hope you will join us in bringing that dream to fruition. Together, we`ll help bestow upon our children and grandchildren a West that once again has a writhing, howling, tail wagging, elk-chasing, wild heart.


Kimberly Riggs, Executive Director, (303) 447-8655,;

Boulder Daily Camera
Nonprofit Spotlight: Sinapu
November 4, 2006


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