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U.S. Wolf Populations

Wild Wolf Population in the United States

Copy Of Gray Red Wolf Handout (4)

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:

 

WESTERN GREAT LAKE STATES

» Minnesota: 2,655 (Sept. 2018)
Status: Federal protection reinstated via court order December 2014More information.

» Wisconsin: 905-944 (June 2018)
Status: Federal protection reinstated via court order December 2014. More information.

» Michigan: 662 (June 2018)
Status: Federal protection reinstated via court order December 2014. More information.

» Isle Royale National Park: 17 (updated September 2019)
Status: Federal protection reinstated via court order in December 2014. More information.

September 2018 - National Park Service begins 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. As of April 2019, 13 wolves had been relocated to Isle Royale from the mainland of US and Canada.

 

NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN STATES

» Idaho: 786 (2016)
Status: Population state managed. Idaho’s wolf management plan includes an annual harvest season. More information.

» Montana: 633 (2018)
Status: Population state managed. Montana's wolf management plan includes an annual harvest season. More information.

» Wyoming: 286 (Apr. 2019), a population drop of 61 compared to 2018.
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.

 

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

» California: As many as 6 (at times) (November 2018)
Status: federally protectedMore information.

» Oregon: 137 (April 2019)
Status: Wolves throughout Oregon were delisted from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) on November 9, 2015. Wolves remain federally protected in the western portion of the state (west of Hwys 395-78-95). More information.

» Washington: 126 (March 2019) individual wolves, up from 122 from the previous year. Status: State/tribe managed in the eastern third of the state. Federally protected in the western portion. More information.

 

SOUTHWEST (MEXICAN GRAY WOLVES)

» Arizona: 64 (2018 population survey)
Status: Federally protected with exceptions as a nonessential experimental population.

» New Mexico: 67 (2018 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.

 

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.

 

SOUTHEAST (RED WOLVES)

» North Carolina: 24 known (2018)
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.