Gray Wolves in the Northern Rockies and Western States

Gray wolves once dominated the western landscape, but widespread killing virtually wiped them out by the 1940s. Today, wolves are back in the Northern Rockies thanks to a highly successful reintroduction program and dedicated conservation efforts. But the species’ recovery is far from over. Wolves still face very serious threats from people who aren’t willing or aren’t prepared to share the landscape with this important animal.

Major Threats

The greatest threat to wolves is conflict with people. Though wolves pose very little threat to humans directly, they do occasionally prey on livestock and hundreds of wolves are killed each year in response. Others are hit by cars, illegally poached, or die of natural causes. And today, hundreds more are being killed during state-regulated wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. Defenders believes these activities will have a serious impact on the ability of wolf populations—which have not yet fully recovered—to survive over the long term.

Learn more about what Defenders of Wildlife is doing to help in our Species at Risk: Northern Rockies Gray Wolves section.

More on Wolf: Gray Wolves in Alaska »

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