How many wild wolves are in the United States?

Wild Wolf Populations in the United States

Us Wolf Map October 2021

Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) were once among the most widely distributed wild mammals. They inhabited most of the available land in the northern hemisphere. Due to the destruction of their habitat and persecution by humans, they now occupy only about two-thirds of their former range worldwide, and about 10 percent of their historic range in the continental 48 United States. Gray wolf populations according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

 

GRAY WOLVES IN THE WESTERN GREAT LAKE STATES

» Minnesota: 2,696 (Winter 2019-2020)
Status: Population state managed. Federally delisted in January 2021. More information.

» Wisconsin: 1034-1057 (Sept. 2020)
Status: Population state managed. Federally delisted in January 2021. WI law mandates a wolf hunting season if wolves are not federally protected. More information.

» Michigan: 695 (July 2020)
Status: Population state managed. Federally delisted in January 2021. More information.

» Isle Royale National Park: 12-14 (Apr. 2020)
By early March 2020, the wolf population was likely composed of 12 wolves, but could be as many as 14 wolves. This is a slight decline from March 2019 when there had been 15. (updated September 2020)
Status: Federal protection reinstated via court order in December 2014. More information.

NPS Wolf Relocation Project: September 2018 - National Park Service began its wolf relocation project - a planned "genetic rescue" of Isle Royale’s dwindling wolf population to keep the species going and allow the unique ecological study that began 60 years ago to continue. Between 2018 - 2019, a total 19 wolves were relocated to Isle Royale from the mainland of US and Canada.

 

GRAY WOLVES IN THE NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN STATES

» Idaho: ~1,556 (2020 - Based on remote camera surveys)
Status: Population state managed. Idaho’s wolf management plan includes an annual harvest season. More information.

» Montana: 833 (2020 - Patch Occupancy Model)
Status: Population state managed. Montana's wolf management plan includes an annual harvest season. More information.

» Wyoming: 327 (As of Dec. 31, 2020)
Status: Population state managed. (Federal appeals court upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 2012 decision to remove gray wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list -March 2017More information.

 

GRAY WOLVES IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

» California: A single pack with 5 wolves; a pair of wolves; and a single wolf for a total of 8 known wolves. (as of February 2021).
Status: State endangeredMore information.

» Oregon: 173 (April 2021)
Status: Wolves throughout Oregon were delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) on November 9, 2015. Wolves in the western portion of the state (west of Hwys 395-78-95) lost federal protections in January 2021. Wolves are now state-managed by ODFW. More information.

» Washington: 178 individual wolves (132 wolves in areas managed by WDFW, 46 wolves in areas managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) (April 2021). Status: State/tribe managed. More information.

 

MEXICAN GRAY WOLVES IN THE SOUTHWEST

» Total in the U.S. : 186

» Arizona: 72 (2020 population survey)
Status: Federally protected with exceptions as a nonessential experimental population.

» New Mexico: 114 (2020 population survey)
Status: Federally protected with exceptions as a nonessential experimental population. Fact Sheet re 2015 Final Rule courtesy USFWS.

» U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Reports.

» More information.

 

GRAY WOLVES IN ALASKA

» Alaska: 7,700 - 11,200 (2017)
Status: Population state managed as both a big game animal and a furbearer, management includes intensive predator control programs. More information.

 

RED WOLVES IN THE SOUTHEAST

» North Carolina: 8 known (As of October 2021)
Status: federally protected with exceptions as a nonessential experimental population. More information.

» Learn about the ongoing Review and Evaluation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.