Gray Wolf
© Sam Parks

Gray Wolf

Ensuring a Lasting Future for Gray Wolves

After nearly 20 years of dedicated recovery efforts, there is now a slowly recovering population of wolves in the Northern Rockies. This incredible comeback had placed wolves on the path towards recovery across, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, and expanded wolf populations westward as a growing number of packs are now breeding in eastern Washington and Oregon. One Oregon wolf, OR7 (also known as Journey), made history as the first documented wolf to make it as far as California. But where states have taken over wolf management from the federal government, they are once again aggressively targeting wolves in an attempt to reduce their populations. As advocates for wolves, Defenders is actively challenging state wildlife agencies and legislatures on reckless wolf management policies , exposing threats to wolves to help ensure a long-term future of a healthy, sustainable wolf population.

The Problem

After wolves lost federal protection in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, the states quickly resumed killing hundreds of wolves. Meanwhile, wolf packs in eastern Oregon and Washington are still struggling to grow and expand. Well-funded anti-wolf forces continue to lobby hard to kill more and more wolves, and perpetuate negative myths about these important predators. Each year, we see bills introduced in various state legislatures that toss responsible wildlife management aside and encourage increasingly aggressive hunting and lethal control of wolves. These measures come in all forms, including proposals to expand wolf-hunting quotas and extend hunting seasons, to reduce populations to the absolute minimum, to cull wolves in order to boost elk herds for hunters, and more.

How We’re Helping

We monitor state legislatures and wildlife agencies closely to track down these threats to wolf recovery. When a dangerous bill or policy change is proposed, we act quickly to inform and mobilize our supporters in the region, encouraging them to contact their state officials and speak out against the proposal. Our experts and policy analysts also reach out to state officials to discuss the problem and, where possible, offer more scientifically-based and responsible solutions. If these measures fail, and laws are being violated by extreme wolf policies, our last resort can be to turn to the courts for protection.