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Gray Wolves in the Northern Rockies

A gray wolf.

As the gray wolf’s reintroduction has illustrated, healthy ecosystems are interconnected, holistic entities requiring rich biodiversity, including the presence of apex predators such as wolves.

National Park Service Photo

What's at Stake

Wolves are a keystone species, serving a crucial role in how their native ecosystems function. The extermination of wolves in regions such as the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem triggered a cascade of effects that dramatically altered the landscape.


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.

Case Updates

March 17, 2016 | Feature

Wolves Need A Good Lawyer

The incredible comeback of the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies signaled the resolve of a society strong enough to embrace a world ensured not just for us, but for all species. Today, the future of wolves remains under threat. Earthjustice enforces the rule of law to preserve our irreplaceable wildlife and wild places. And we hold accountable those who harm them.

January 12, 2016 | Feature

Rethinking The Big Bad Wolf

Earthjustice has partnered with the Creative Action Network calling on artists to create a body of work in honor of the embattled gray wolf and to debunk negative stereotypes of the icon of the wild.

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