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The Gray Wolf

The Gray Wolf (Canis Lupus) is the largest member of the canine family. It is an ice age survivor originating during the Late Pleistocene era, about 300,000 years ago. Wild gray wolves can thrive in a wide range of habitats such as mountains, plains, deserts and grasslands, which reflects their adaptability as a species. Though once abundant over much of Eurasia and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a very small portion of its former range because of widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment of its habitat, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to extermination as perceived threats to livestock and pets.

The Gray Wolf is currently protected by Washington as an endangered species throughout the state and is federally listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state. According to law, a species can be removed from the endangered species list only when it no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The determination that the species has “recovered” must be based on scientific data and objective evidence. In May 2011, wolves in Idaho, Montana and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah were delisted. In areas where wolves become federally delisted, tribes can develop their own management plans and regulations that may not be consistent with the state wolf plan.

The Gray Wolf PDF