Endangered Wolves Make a Comeback

Yellowstone Restoration Project Success Could Lead to Delisting

Listen: Morning Edition audio - Part 2

Gray wolf

The gray wolf's restoration in the northern Rockies has been so successful, the federal government is moving to delist it as an endangered species. Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hide caption

itoggle caption Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

In 1995, gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park, which skirts three Western states. National Park Service hide caption

ยป Map of Yellowstone Wolf Population
itoggle caption National Park Service

The North American gray wolf, wiped out at Yellowstone National Park in the 1930s, is thriving once again after being reintroduced less than a decade ago. Now the government is moving to end federal protection for the wolf under the Endangered Species Act.

Only 38 species have been taken off the endangered species list since 1967. More than 1,200 species are still considered to be in peril. The wolf population in Yellowstone has grown more than five-fold — to nearly 170 — since their reintroduction in 1995. The recovery has been extraordinary, due in large part to the national park where its natural habitat has been protected, Arnold reports.

The region's ranchers, whose livestock are easy prey for the wolves, hope to see the wolves delisted as soon as possible. But some environmentalists want continued protection for the wolves.

NPR's Elizabeth Arnold reports on the wolves as part of a year-long series on the 30th anniversary of the act.

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