Room For Wolves…

Lamar Canyon Pack Flickr_CC BY_ND 2.0

New Report IDs 350,000 Square Miles of Additional Habitat for Wolves in Lower 48

Obama Administration Prematurely Abandoning Recovery, Despite Ample Room for Wolves in Southern Rockies, West Coast, Northeast

By: Center for Biological Diversity

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 3, 2014 – A first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity identifies 359,000 square miles of additional habitat for gray wolves in 19 of the lower 48 states that could significantly boost the nation’s 40-year wolf recovery efforts. The study indicates the gray wolf population could be doubled to around 10,000 by expanding recovery into areas researchers have identified as excellent habitat in the Northeast, West Coast and southern Rocky Mountains, as well as the Grand Canyon, an area where a radio-collared wolf was photographed in recent weeks.

The report comes as the Obama administration moves to strip Endangered Species Act protection from gray wolves by the end of the year, even though wolves have been recovered in less than 10 percent of their historic habitat and are routinely trekking hundreds of miles to disperse to areas of the American landscape they once called home.

“This wolf’s pioneering journey to Arizona, like the wolf OR-7’s remarkable trek across Oregon to California, highlights the compelling on-the-ground reality made clear in this new report,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf organizer. “The Obama administration must finally acknowledge that the job of recovering wolves to sustainable populations is far from done.”

Today’s report, Making Room for Wolf Recovery: The Case for Maintaining Endangered Species Act Protections for America’s Wolves, analyzes 27 published research papers identifying suitable wolf habitat. It shows that the current wolf population of 5,400 could be nearly doubled if federal protections were retained and recovery efforts began to restore wolves to some of the places they once called home.

The report documents 56 instances over 30 years where wolves have dispersed from existing core recovery areas to states where they have yet to reestablish, including Colorado, Utah, California, New York, Massachusetts and Maine. These events, which frequently have ended in the dispersing wolves being shot, highlight the need for continued federal protections and recovery planning to increase the odds for dispersing wolves to survive and recolonize former terrain. The most famous dispersing wolf, OR-7, traveled hundreds of miles from northeast Oregon to California and has started a family along the border of the two states.

The report’s findings come as federal wildlife officials are working to verify the genetic identity of the radio-collared wolf photographed near Grand Canyon National Park — a discovery that suggests the wolf is likely a northern Rockies gray wolf who traveled hundreds of miles to historic wolf habitat where wolves were exterminated more than 50 years ago.

“What we’re seeing is that the amazing journeys of OR-7 and the wolf spotted in Arizona are far from oddities — they’re reflections of very natural dispersal patterns in recent years, where wolves have travelled hundreds of miles trying to expand to enough of their historic range to survive ongoing threats,” Weiss said. “But without the protection of the Endangered Species Act, we know that these wolves will too often face the same kind of hostility that nearly drove them extinct a century ago.”

Since endangered species protections were taken away from wolves in 2011 in the northern Rockies and western Great Lakes, the states have enacted aggressive hunting and trapping seasons designed to drastically reduce populations. To date more than 2,800 wolves have been killed, resulting in a 9 percent population decline in the northern Rockies and a 25 percent decline in Minnesota. Idaho passed legislation this year creating a “wolf control board,” with the sole purpose of killing wolves, and appropriated $400,000 for the task. Removal of protection in the rest of the country will ensure that anti-wolf prejudices prevail and wolf recovery is stopped in its tracks.

“State management of wolves has turned an Endangered Species Act success story into a tragedy,” said Weiss. “Rather than sound science, gray wolf management by the states has been dominated by anti-wolf hysteria and special-interest politics. Wolves need federal protection so they can survive, continue to recover, and eventually reprise their historic wilderness role at the top of the food chain.”

The report details the serious problems with state management and the important part wolves play in ecosystems; it can be read and downloaded here.

Large members of the canid family, gray wolves are habitat generalists able to live nearly anywhere other than extreme desert or tropical environments, but which require human tolerance for survival. Living in family packs that typically range from five to 10 animals, wolves are highly social animals, with all pack members involved in rearing of young and in hunting forays for their prey (predominantly large wild ungulates such as elk, deer, moose and caribou). At around the age of two to three years, wolves tend to disperse from their family packs to seek mates and territories of their own.

Gray wolves were once the most widely ranging land mammals on the planet, with an estimated 2 million distributed throughout North America at the time of European colonization. As settlers moved west, they cleared the land for their grain and livestock, wiping out first the wolves’ wild prey and then the wolves themselves. Government-sponsored predator-eradication campaigns conducted on behalf of the livestock industry exterminated wolves everywhere in the lower 48 states, with the exception of a remnant population of fewer than 1,000 wolves in far northeastern Minnesota.

Wolves were first federally protected in 1967, under a precursor to the Endangered Species Act. This allowed Minnesota’s wolf population to expand in number and range into neighboring Wisconsin and parts of Michigan. In the mid-1990s, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho; their descendants have slowly dispersed into parts of Washington and Oregon, with one wolf making it to California. In the late 1990s, the most highly endangered subspecies of gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf, was reintroduced to Arizona.

In 2011 Congress stripped wolves of federal protections in the northern Rockies and adjacent areas, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did the same for wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. Under state management, in less than three years, wolf populations in these states have demonstrated substantial declines, with nearly 3,000 wolves killed in state-sanctioned hunting and trapping seasons.

In June 2013 the Obama administration proposed stripping federal protections from wolves across most of the lower 48 states. Despite receipt of more than 1.5 million public comments opposed to delisting wolves and critical comments from scientists and a peer review panel, the administration is expected to issue an official rule removing protection from wolves before the end of the year.


Making Room for Wolf Recovery:
The Case for Maintaining Endangered Species Act Protections for America’s Wolves

gray wolf in snow wallpaper


Top Photo: lamar-canyon-pack-flickr_cc-by_nd-2-0

Bottom Photo: gray wolf in snow wallpaper

Posted in: gray wolf, biodiversity, Wolf Wars

Tags: gray wolf recovery, wolf habitat, Obama admin, war on wolves, Center For Biological Diversity, national wolf delisting, wolf persecution repeat, ESA

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Reblogged this on ARA United News.


  2. election results NOT good for Wolves, animals-in-general and the environment, but a bonanza for animal killing republicans – they are not going to be happy until every animal and every tree is removed AND they are lucky the public is stupid and uninformed!


    • Did you happen to read Nabeki’s article on the Democratic Senators and wolves? The link is below.


    • Pat, I wouldn’t worry too much, Obama has been horrid on wolves and it’s his administration that’s pushing for the National wolf delisting and grizzlies losing their ESA protections. Unfortunately both parties have been awful on wolves. I’m sure there will be gridlock in Washington now with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress and Obama all alone in his tower room, brooding. We can only hope for a good candidate in 2016, the current system we have now is broken. I was glad to see Harry Reid booted out as majority leader in the Senate, he’s the one who brought the budget bill/wolf delisting rider up for a vote.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • You got it. Maybe now they’ll try a little harder. What still frosts me is how willing they were to hand over the wolves for a Senate seat. Heh. Now they’ve lost some.


      • I know ida, thousands of wolves sacrificed so they could stay in power, yet some people think we shouldn’t see them booted out because they’re the lesser of the two evils. I don’t think so, they need to feel the consequences of their actions. Not as many were booted as I had hoped but it was satisfying non the less.

        I see Otter won for a third term, are there no term limits in Idaho on governors? Is he going to be the wolf hating governor in chief for life? ughhhhhhhhhh

        For the wolves, For the wild ones,


      • I see Otter won for a third term, are there no term limits in Idaho on governors.

        I was thinking the same thing. There doesn’t seem to be any term limits for WI either with that other bad penny Scott Walker.


    • by the way, Nabeki will be able to add the tally of wolf deaths in Michigan, following yesterday’s ill voting there.

      Wolf advocates can throw money against diseased America, but as you have seen, money has been the preferred tool of the sociopathic majority, and it is most likely they have more of it to throw the other way.

      Unfortunately here in the West, we have seen those who attempt to act practically to reduce destruction, branded and sent to prison for as much as 25 years merely for acting ethically.

      When I have an answer, I’ll post it.


      • Michigan Propsals 1 and 2 were defeated at the polls on 11-4-14, which, in a nutshell, means the majority of voters in Michigan voted pro-wolf and pro-voter rights. There will be no wolf hunt in 2014. However, because of a legislative power grab and a new law legislators passed August 27, 2014, to nullify election results, it’s not simple. The DNR is already planning the next hunt. There may be a lawsuit; stay tuned. Best source of information regarding this:


      • What do you mean by yesterday’s ill voting? Michiganers voted “no” on the wolf hunt proposals, meaning that they OPPOSE wolf hunting in their state.


  3. What a good job to prove we have room for Wolves. That is a lot of work and we need the government to stop the murder of wolves.

    Liked by 1 person



  5. Here’s one bit of great election news for wolves!


    • Thank goodness! So all is not lost.


  6. Reblogged this on Mind Chatter and commented:
    I met a woman this week who had the conditioned reaction when discussing wolves the media and ‘men who would be gods’ have pushed on us. She actually shivered when I mentioned the wolf population was at risk. She asked why it was important to save them if they were dangerous. Being a friend of my mum’s, I didn’t want to get into a serious discussion on this, and mum picked up on this immediately and changed the subject. Mum knows how strongly I feel about all the damage we do on this earth. I guess the fair response to her question would be, ‘…humans are the most dangerous, thus if we are deeming the dangerous beast to be eradicated, humans should be the first to be hunted to extinction, not the wolf, bear, or big cats.’

    “A first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity identifies 359,000 square miles of additional habitat for gray wolves in 19 of the lower 48 states that could significantly boost the nation’s 40-year wolf recovery efforts.”


  7. Victory for wolves yesterday as a majority of Michiganers voted against the wolf hunting proposals! The people of Michigan have spoken, they do NOT want wolf hunting in their state!


  8. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  9. […] Room For Wolves… […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: