WMI was established in 1911 by sportsmen/businessmen gravely concerned about the dramatic declines of many wildlife populations. Its founders saw need for a small, independent and aggressive cadre of people dedicated to restoring and ensuring the well-being of wild populations and their habitats.
Although methods of operation have changed since the Institute's inception, the wildlife conservation objectives remain essentially the same. WMI remains a small, mobile, private, nonprofit (501[c]3), scientific and educational organization.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., until late 2007, WMI now operates efficiently and effectively from field offices. Its personnel are highly trained and experienced wildlife science and management professionals, typically working away from the public limelight to catalyze and facilitate strategies, actions, decisions and programs to benefit wildlife and wildlife values.
WMI works mostly on request with federal and provincial agencies, Congress, college and university researchers and educators, other private conservation organizations, and professional associations. It advises, testifies and, in a variety of other ways, provides educational services on timely wildlife-related issues.
In simplest terms, WMI is a professional conservation organization that works to improve the professional foundation of wildlife management. It does not support a large membership or expend time and dollars on promotional efforts to attract and sustain membership. Instead, the staff concentrates fully on addressing resource issues and opportunities. WMI members know that their affiliation will not bring them glossy magazines or frequent fund-raising appeals. They are promised the best efforts of every WMI staff member to provide opportunities for more and better-managed wildlife.
WMI supports the wise use of wildlife, including regulated recreational hunting of designated populations. WMI endorses the proposition of game management, the concept of biological diversity and principles of ecology. It recognizes that wildlife management must be a skillful blend of science and art in relation to dynamic human circumstances, values and expectations. And the Wildlife Management Institute believes that wildlife not only reflects the continent's wealth but, in many respects, wildlife is that wealth.