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Room for Wolf Recovery

A first-of-its-kind analysis by Center for Biological Diversity identified 359,000 square miles of additional suitable habitat for gray wolves in 19 of the lower 48 states that could significantly boost the nation’s 40-year wolf recovery efforts.


The report documents 56 instances over 30 years where wolves have dispersed from existing core recovery areas to states where they have yet to reestablish, including Colorado, Utah, California, New York, Massachusetts and Maine. Wolves once roamed the U.S. from sea to shining sea. But slaughter by humans resulted in bringing wolves to the brink of extinction. In recent decades, reintroduction and conservation efforts have revived gray wolf populations in some regions. And now, the carnivores are making inroads into other historic territories on their own. These events, which frequently have ended in the dispersing wolves being shot, highlight the need for continued federal protections and recovery planning to increase the odds for dispersing wolves to survive and recolonize former terrain.


High Country News plotted a few notable wolf treks of late on a map, with lines that give a crude sense of the distance they’ve traveled. View the map and story here.

With USFWS poised to remove federal protections nationwide, will these pioneers be able to establish a viable populations in areas with suitable habitat and availability of prey?