Gray Wolf
© Sam Parks

Gray Wolf

Success Stories

Standing Up for Wolves

In 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service held several public hearings on their proposal to delist most gray wolves in the U.S. And at each one, Defenders was there in force, bringing hundreds of pro-wolf voices to the events and providing training and advice for those who wanted to present testimony against the proposal. In addition, by working together with other conservation groups, we were able to gather more than 1 million pro-wolf public comments on the proposal.

Montana Commission Proposal Halted

In early 2012, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission was considering a proposal to extend the wolf hunting season in the Bitterroot Valley in order to boost elk herds. Defenders, our allies and our supporters weighed in to convince the commissioners not to support the unjustified extension, and they unanimously rejected the proposal.

Washington Passes Wolf Compensation and Coexistence Funding

In 2012, the Washington state legislature passed a bill to provide more than one million dollars toward funding compensation and nonlethal coexistence strategies to increase conservation efforts for wolves in the state.  Defenders advocated heavily for this measure.

Oregon Passes Landmark Wolf Coexistence Bill

On August 3, 2011 the governor of Oregon signed a bill into law that establishes a county-based livestock compensation and wolf coexistence program to reduce conflicts between livestock and wolves.

Paradise Valley Coexistence Project

Defenders, in collaboration with partners Natural Resources Defense Council and Keystone Conservation, is helping to fund a project in Paradise Valley outside of Yellowstone National Park that uses a combination of tools to proactively manage livestock in a way that can make them less vulnerable to predation. Some of the tools used on the project are a range rider, electric fence and carcass removal. We are in the second year of this project, and look forward to learning more from this field season.

Wood River Wolf Project

In the Sawtooth Mountains of south-central Idaho, excellent occupied wolf habitat overlaps the grazing grounds for thousands of sheep every summer. Defenders’ ongoing Wood River Wolf Project works on the ground with local stakeholders to use nonlethal methods of keeping livestock and wolves safely apart. Since its inception in 2007, the project has protected 10,000-27,000 sheep each year as they graze in the Sawtooth National Forest. The project area has the lowest loss rate of livestock in the state, and zero wolves there have been killed by wildlife control agents.

Fighting Aerial Gunning

Defenders partnered successfully with numerous local Alaska groups to twice bring Alaska’s aerial wolf-control programs to a halt.  In 1996 and 2000, we helped local groups run two successful citizens’ ballot initiatives that stopped the programs for a period of three years. In 2010, Defenders worked with our partners to successfully prevent the state of Alaska from conducting an aerial wolf control program on Unimak Island, a remote National Wildlife Refuge and wilderness area at the tip of the Alaska Peninsula. Programs such as the one proposed for Unimak are inappropriate on federal lands in Alaska. We will continue to support federal wildlife management strategies that are consistent with federal policies and mandates.