Our Wolf Action Plan

To realize our vision for wolves, we must 1) protect existing populations at healthy, sustainable levels; 2) restore wolves to their ecological roles across unoccupied and appropriate suitable habitat—places with an adequate prey base, cover and room for dispersal and establishment of new territories and packs; and 3) recover endangered populations of red wolves and Mexican gray wolves. Defenders engages in a wide range of specific actions designed to meet these objectives:

  • Maintain or restore federal protection in the lower 48 states where wolves are not fully recovered, implement actions to recover them and hold FWS accountable for monitoring recovered populations to ensure numbers remain sustainable.
  • Secure the recovery of critically low populations of Mexican gray wolves and red wolves and ensure that FWS is implementing up-to-date recovery plans based on sound science and releasing additional wolves in the wild at current and  new reintroduction sites when necessary.
  • Ensure states are implementing strong, conservation-based wolf management programs that, at a minimum, maintain wolf populations at levels sufficient for long-term sustainability and are well above levels that would warrant relisting under the ESA.
  • Pave the way for wolves to naturally disperse to suitable habitat in Colorado, California and elsewhere by building public support and promoting coexistence methods.
  • Where appropriate suitable habitat for wolves exists, advocate for and partner with state wildlife agencies to restore wolves at population levels large enough to maintain critical interactions between wolves and ecosystems, including through reintroductions or natural dispersal to adjacent unoccupied habitat.
  • Work with tribal and federal government agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service, to manage for wolf recovery on their lands.
  • Defeat legislation and management decisions that block or compromise the restoration of wolf populations, and support decisions that promote wolf conservation.
  • Advance nonlethal means of preventing conflicts with livestock as standard management practices throughout wolf habitat and promote their adoption in policy and practice by agencies responsible for managing livestock and wolves.
  • Increase human tolerance and public support for wolves through outreach and education that accurately address the impacts of wolves on livestock and game animals and through partnerships and incentive programs that help ranchers, landowners and tribes coexist with wolves.
  • Reduce social conflicts about wolves in targeted communities by sponsoring roundtables, workshops and stakeholder mediation efforts that feature successful coexistence projects and partnerships.
  • Change the policies and practices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, the federal agency charged with predator control, from reliance on lethal methods to reliance on nonlethal methods and eliminate their participation in killing wolves to artificially boost game populations.
  • Improve the political climate for wolves at state, regional and federal levels by cultivating grassroots activists and legislators to champion wolves.

Click here to download the full Places for Wolves report.