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The  wolf has a highly evolved family structure and an advanced system of communication. It is  among  the  most intelligent of all living creatures. It is also in very real danger of vanishing from the face of the earth.


Insatiable killer. That's the reputation that the gray wolf (also known as the timber wolf) acquired in western North America in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The wolf, which in the New World once roamed from northern Canada to Mexico, was branded a pariah, a bloodthirsty menace to settlers and their livestock, a kill-or-be-killed monster.  These labels were undeserved, but the actions they inspired were profoundly effective. In the last half of the 19th century, an estimated 2 million wolves were shot, trapped or poisoned in the lower 48 states. Today they occupy about 1 percent of their former range. About 2,000 wolves remain in Minnesota; everywhere else they are either extinct or reduced to populations of a few dozen animals.

So now we are left with the question: why was the wolf, among the many predators of North America, singled out for extermination? As the West was settled, vast areas of natural habitat were converted to farm and ranch land. Populations of bison, deer, elk, and moose -- the natural prey of wolves -- were scattered and drastically reduced. The wolves reacted by turning to sheep and cattle, and the farmers, ranchers, and local officials, in turn, reacted by instituting wolf bounties. It was, of course, no contest. By 1930, wolves had been extirpated in all but the most isolated parts of the U.S.

Wolf Redux

Four decades later, attitudes toward the gray wolf (and toward our disappearing flora and fauna in general) had changed. In 1974 the wolf was placed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. By the 1980s, plans were under way to return it to selected portions of its former range. The most visible and controversial of these sites is

Yellowstone National Park. Since Yellowstone was established as a refuge in 1872, the gray wolf is the only vertebrate that has disappeared from the park. In 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service introduced Canadian wolves into Yellow Stone and parts of Idaho and Montana. In May 1995, a reintroduced female wolf gave birth to eight pups in

Yellowstone -- the first gray wolf birth in the park in 70 years. The current plan calls for releases to continue for three to five years. It's hoped that the wolf can be removed from

the Endangered Species List by early in the next century.

Wolf Wars

Not everyone has welcomed the wolf's return. Ranchers in some areas are concerned for their livestock. To help alleviate these concerns, reintroduced wolves found outside

Yellow-stone's boundaries are classified as "nonessential" or "experimental." This is an Environmental Protection Agency designation that permits local authorities to control the

wolves if they become a threat to livestock or prey species. Defenders of Wildlife, a private organization, compensates landowners for any loss of stock that can be attributed to wolves. To date, only a few dozen claims have been made -- an indication that free-ranging wolves represent a minimum danger. Still, there are strong feelings on both sides of the reintroduction issue; how it plays out over the coming decades will be a clear gauge of public attitudes toward such programs.

Here are some other links that I found that have to do with saving the wolves.

Here is a good site about wolves with sounds, pictures, and a lot of information.

This site is very good to get info, pictures, and everyting else.

This site has good information on wolves in the wild.


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