Are Wolves Endangered?
At one time, the gray wolf population in North America was significant. Today, however, that is certainly not the case. The population of wolves in North America and, for that matter, around the globe has greatly diminished.
Shrinking Number of Wolves
The population of wolves in North America has climbed steadily, but not enough to take the wolf off of the endangered species list. The gray wolf maintains a small population and the red wolf was believed to be outright extinct, but a very limited number of these wolves are now roaming segments of North American forests.
Deforestation Led to Decline
The reasons why wolves have seen their population decimated mainly due to the diminishing forests in North America, where many of the wolves are found. Wolves were able to live in and survive in such an environment.
But over the course of the last 200 years, major cities and industries have been built which radically changed the environment. Wolves cannot live in areas that are greatly populated or different from their natural habitat.
Decline Due to Hunting
The other factor that greatly led to the reduction of the population of wolves in North America was hunting. Wolves were, in fact, hunted to the point of extinction over the years. Livestock makes very easy prey for wolves so they will often attack it. Those who own the livestock opted to kill off a large part of the North American wolf population to prevent further losses.
Also, there have been many who hunted and killed wolves for sheer sport and profit long past the point of wise conservation. Between 1850 and 1900, roughly one million wolves were killed. By today's standards, that would be a staggering figure. In the 19th century, this was considered necessary and the call to outright eliminate the population was made.
Saving the Wolves
In 1974, the gray wolf was officially considered endangered. At this point, steps were made to increase the wolf population. In fact, wolves were imported from Canada to help increase the number of them and stimulate breeding.
In other parts of the world, there are certain species of wolves that are endangered. However, it would be inaccurate to say wolves are endangered everywhere. In segments of the former Soviet Union and the bulk of Canada, wolves have thriving populations. More remote forest regions are likely going to have larger populations of wolves.
Since there is far less of a desire and need to kill off wolves today, the population of these creatures may steadily continue to grow. Even places such as Greenland, where less than 100 wolves live, are seeing the wolf population grow.