Gray wolves (Canis lupus) have been persecuted in the U.S. since the arrival of Europeans. By the 20th century, they had been driven to near-extinction. Narrowly pulled back from the brink by endangered species protections and reintroductions in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the 1990s, they are one of North America’s greatest conservation success stories.
Wolf recovery has had huge cultural resonance. Most Americans love wolves. Gas station t-shirts and tchotchkes featuring the species have become a fixture of kitsch Americana—a testament to our collective love for these charismatic canids.