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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.

Case Overview

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

August 26, 2015 | Feature

#JoinThePack

The wolf’s re-introduction to Yellowstone National Park, twenty years ago, succeeded in restoring an ecological balance which had been lost. But now, Congress is threatening the future of wolves. Will you fight for a future with wolves?

March 6, 2015 | Blog Post

The Wolf: Man’s Best, and Oldest, Friend

New research has found that our relationship with wolves may go back further than previously thought—and could have been the impetus that allowed the first humans to spread across the world.

February 2, 2015 | Feature

Infographic: Wolves Keep Yellowstone in the Balance

In the 1920s, government policy allowed the extermination of Yellowstone’s gray wolf—the apex predator—triggering an ecosystem collapse known as trophic cascade. In 1995—through use of the Endangered Species Act—the conservation community reintroduced the gray wolf to restore balance. The impact is dramatic.

January 29, 2015 | Feature

Timeline: Wolves in Danger

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 hunts in the northern Rockies in nearly a century.

August 26, 2014 | Blog Post

Tween Wolf Advocate Calls Out Secretary Jewell (Very Politely)

Last year in Rhode Island, then-12-year-old Alyssa Grayson approached Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at an event and boldly handed her a letter asking her to reconsider plans to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act.

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