Wolves are an often misunderstood animal that plays a big part in our ecosystem. The more we learn about wolves, the more we understand that they are not an animal to be feared, but to be celebrated. Unfortunately, many species, like the Grey Wolf, are facing extinction.
Why they are important: Wolves help keep animal populations such as elk and deer under control and the remains of their prey help nourish smaller animals and the soil around them. While wolves may seem vicious and dangerous, there is no known occurrence of a healthy wolf attacking a person. Wolves, similar to humans, also travel in packs of family and friends who are co-dependent on each other.
What is the problem: The Grey Wolf, like most non-domesticated members of the canis family, is endangered. The Grey Wolf was declared endangered in 1978 because it had nearly reached extinction in places like Alaska and Canada and had almost completely disappeared in the contiguous United States. Today after being protected by the Endangered Species Act, their numbers have risen to over 12,000. However, though its numbers have improved, the Grey Wolf is not completely safe today.
Why they are going extinct: Although wolves have little to no natural predators, human activity has been linked to the recent plummet in wolf populations. Loss of habitat caused by timber harvesting has called for wolves to retreat in most wild areas on our continent. Hunting, in particular, is perhaps the most important factor in the downfall of the Grey Wolf population. Shockingly, the wolf is the only known animal that is hunted year-round. Ultimately, the fear of these majestic creatures by ranchers and hunters is the driving force behind the population decrease.
How we can help: Grey Wolves are endangered because of humans, and as humans we have the power to help them! Here are 3 ways you can help Grey Wolves:
- Write your representative and let them know that you think hunting Grey Wolves should be banned or limited.
- Support the parks that Grey Wolves call home. When you go to places like Yellowstone National Park as a paying visitor you support the preservation of these lands as sanctuaries to animals like the Grey Wolf.
- Vote with your dollars! Buy recycled or reclaimed wood products rather than those that use freshly harvested wood from the Grey Wolf’s habitat.
Want more of The Endangered? Check out the growing list of articles on our Wildlife page.