Primary Threats

Idaho's wolf bounty. Rockies Today for Tuesday, February 19 | by Mountain  West News | Mountain West News

The main threat known to the Gray Wolf is humans. The last known gray wolf was hunted in 1946 in order to protect livestock (Oregon Wild, 2019), today wolves are at risk once more due to human conflict and intolerance (Defenders of Wildlife, 2020). Centuries of industrialization, fragmentation, and deforestation have caused the wolves to live in a more fragmented, isolated habitat. Because of this, wolves have less protection from excessive persecution, no shelter or areas for denning, and less access to prey (Defenders of Wildlife, 2020). Wolves are also threatened by a lack of protection under state and federal endangered species laws, the wolf is endangered in many parts of its historic range but delisted by congress in much of the northern rockies (Defenders of Wildlife, 2020). The S. 1514, known as the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act play into the delisting and threaten to undermine the ESA and destroy species conservation efforts that are vital (New Threats to Gray Wolves, 2020). This Act would remove wolves from the ESA in Wyoming and the Great Lake region while prohibiting judicial review over these rulings. While this threatens conservation efforts for wolves, it also allows congressional politics to interfere with decisions which should be based on scientific evidence (New Threats to Gray Wolves, 2020). Scientific expertise is necessary for determining what is best for the species at stake (Animal Welfare Institute, 2020). Wolves that are not protected by the federal government have legally been run over by snowmobiles and ATVs, poisoned, snared, caught in barbaric steel-jawed traps, incinerated in their dens with gas or dynamite, and gunned down from aircraft because they are depicted as “monsters” and are encouraged to be slaughtered (Animal Welfare Institute, 2020). All of these inhumane and inconsiderate actions towards wolves will cause their extinction if we do not come together and realize their importance to biodiversity in ecosystems.

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