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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.

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