Emmanuel-KellerThe howl of the wolf is spreading with new information that a minimum of 5,600 gray wolves now live in the U.S. outside of Alaska, the International Wolf Center reports. Recent state counts of gray wolves everywhere from the Upper Midwest through the West and Southwest show that populations are faring well in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, and New Mexico and increasing in several of these states. The Upper Midwest hosts some 3,700 wolves while a minimum of 1,800 inhabit the West. After years of effort, even the numbers of Mexican wolves, a local race of the gray wolf, have increased to over 100 in the past year.
The only exception to the growing wolf population trend is in North Carolina, where the critically-endangered population of red wolves has dropped by more than 10% over the past two years. Recent estimates reflect that less than 90 red wolves are known to exist in the wild.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists gray wolves as endangered except in Minnesota, where they are classed as threatened, and Idaho and Montana where they are state managed and subject to public hunting and trapping. Researchers point out, though, that wolf populations in these states are holding their own or increasing.
Early in the 20th Century, wolves were extirpated by government efforts to poison them throughout most of the 48 states. In 1967, they were placed on the federal Endangered Species List when only about 750 remained in northeastern Minnesota and Isle Royale National Park. They were then protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, reintroduced in the West in 1995 and 1996 and have increased ever since, both in numbers and geographic range.
“It’s great to see gray wolf populations doing well across much of the American landscape,” said Rob Schultz, executive director of the International Wolf Center. “With continued efforts to conserve and manage our wildlands, both wolves and humans can effectively co-exist and continue to prosper.”
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER – Learn about the International Wolf Center at wolf.org. The Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the nation’s premier source for wolf education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wildlands and the human role in their future. The Center educates through its Web site, wolf.org, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, on-site adventure and outreach programs and International Wolf magazine. The educational facility is located at 1396 Highway 169, Ely, Minnesota, 55731. (Phone: 218-365-4695), and the Center’s Administrative and Outreach offices are at 3410 Winnetka Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55427.