Wolves in Danger

One of North America’s most iconic native predators, the gray wolf used to be found throughout the United States—but centuries of trapping, hunting, and poisoning, decimated the wolf population. By the 1980s, only a few small pockets of survivors remained in the continental United States.

Efforts to reintroduce the gray wolf to the Northern Rockies in 1995 ultimately succeeded and by 2005, the population had finally climbed above 1,000 animals. Despite this encouraging recovery, there have been and continue to be state management policies pushing for aggressive population reductions in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

For the past decade, Earthjustice has been instrumental in protecting the gray wolves in court. Explore a timeline of the fight to protect the wolves of the Northern Rockies.


Take Action! Wolves in the Lower-48 Need Your Help

January catch of Forest Service hunter T.B. Bledsaw, Kaibab National Forest, circa 1914. (Arizona Historical Society)

January catch of Forest Service hunter T.B. Bledsaw, Kaibab National Forest, c. 1914. (Arizona Historical Society)

Take ActionThe federal government may remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across nearly the entire lower-48 states. This would be disastrous for gray wolf recovery in the United States. Take action now to help prevent the premature delisting of the gray wolf!

Infographic: Wolves Keep Yellowstone in Balance

Wolves Keep Yellowstone in Balance.
The extermination of Yellowstone's gray wolf in the 1920s triggered an ecosystem collapse. The impact of the reintroduction of wolves in 1995—through use of the Endangered Species Act—has been dramatic. Explore infographic »

Cases: Current Related Litigation

Conservation Groups Challenge Kill‐at‐Will Policy for Wyoming Wolves
Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, have filed suit challenging the federal government’s removal of Endangered Species Act protections for Wyoming wolves. Earthjustice is representing Defenders of Wildlife, Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club in this action.

Notice of Intent  |  Press Release

Support Us: Make a contribution

Wolves: Support Earthjustice
Donate nowSupport our work! Earthjustice has been critical to protecting endangered species in the Northern Rockies, such as grizzlies, wolves, and bison. Please support our ongoing efforts to preserve America’s wildlife for generations to come.

Video: Earthjustice On PBS

In 2010, PBS NOW aired Hunting Wolves, Saving Wolves, a short piece on the ongoing efforts to save—and hunt—gray wolves in the northern Rockies, which can be viewed in its entirety below.

Featured Stories

Since our founding more than four decades ago, Earthjustice has fought to protect hundreds of special places and wildlife species. And while every victory that preserves a national park or saves an endangered species is a significant accomplishment, some animals we defend are iconic symbols of the wild. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in the case of the Northern Rockies gray wolves.
Explore the history of the northern Rocky gray wolves, beginning in the 1930s when their numbers were decimated after years of persecution, through their successful reintroduction in the 1990s, to current day's first legal wolf hunt in the northern Rockies in nearly a century.
Take Action! The Obama administration may remove federal protections for nearly all gray wolves in the lower-48 states. Administration officials need to hear from you to encourage them not to remove federal protections for gray wolves.
Wolf 253 was one of the first casualties as the federal government stripped Endangered Species protections for gray wolves in the northern Rockies. But this particular wolf was unique.
Tim Preso, managing attorney of the Earthjustice Northern Rockies office, has been working to defend the wolf population in the region for more than a decade. In a teleconference, he discusses the background, history and perspective to Earthjustice’s decades-long fight to protect the endangered gray wolf.
On August 31, 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is eliminating federal protections for Wyoming wolves, handing wolf management over to Wyoming, which will open almost all of the state to immediate, unconditional wolf killing.
Once virtually wiped off the map by decades of hunting, trapping, and poisoning, wolf numbers are slowly rising thanks to recovery efforts.
Keep up to date on actions you can take to help wolves and make a difference on other environmental issues. Subscribe to updates from Earthjustice today!