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Wolves In The West

Official Blog of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project

Building Bridges With The Ambassador Wolf

on September 6, 2018 at 3:40 PM By | A Guest Post by Matthew Ellis of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center | 32 Comments |
The wolf is one of the most feared animals—and one of the most misunderstood. Most of us have heard the story of the big, bad wolf created by fairytales and Hollywood, but due to their cautious and shy nature, very few people get to see what they are really like.  An ambassador wolf allows gives us the chance to meet the real thing.
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9 Myths about the Gray Wolf You Shouldn't Believe

The gray wolf is one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet. Billed as the big, bad wolf long ago, this deep misunderstanding has meant fatal consequences for the gray wolf.
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Interview With an Expert — Lost Walks

on June 27, 2018 at 12:38 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 11 Comments |
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Interview With an Expert — Mike Phillips

on June 6, 2018 at 9:26 AM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 18 Comments |
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LETTER: ‘Rewilding’ Missing Carnivores May Help Restore Some Landscapes

on March 26, 2018 at 1:00 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 1 Comment |
If you’re lucky, you can spot a gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park. But a century ago, you’d have been hard pressed to find any there. Poisonings and unregulated hunting obliterated nearly all of these majestic canines from Canada to Mexico, their original home range.
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The Alpha Female

on March 23, 2018 at 2:56 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 7 Comments |
Each year during the month of March, we celebrate Women's History Month. We come together to tell the stories of women throughout history--both the familiar and the untold. To honor this tradition, we want to tell the story of the alpha female and their struggle to keep their family together. The term "alpha" as used to described members of a wolf pack is synonymous with the top ranking male and female, who typically are the parents of most members of the pack. The title of alpha is coveted because it typically foreshadows parenthood and the chance to leave your impression of future generations.
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LETTER, "Reintroducing wolves helps ecosystem"

on March 21, 2018 at 1:57 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 2 Comments |
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A Gray Wolf's Devotion to Family

on February 13, 2018 at 3:39 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 18 Comments |
We’ve all heard of the "lone wolf" – but it turns out that old adage couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact wolves are highly social animals that depend on their family, or pack, for survival. Much like humans, packs work together to gather food, take care of the young, and nurse the injured – and they communicate in more complex ways than howling at the moon.
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Why isn't the Endangered Species Act restoring the gray wolf?

on January 24, 2018 at 10:13 AM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 0 Comments |
For the last 75 years, the gray wolf has been missing from Colorado -- if you missed our blog post about how this keystone species was removed from the Rockies, check it out here. In the decades following the extermination of the gray wolf, the state recognized the species as "endangered" per Colorado’s Nongame, Endangered, or Threatened Species Conservation Act. Despite the clear intent of Colorado law, the act is best suited for management actions that promote the persistence of imperiled, but existing, species. This means the law works best to protect a small number of animals that remain in the habitat, even if that small population is threatened by human or environmental factors. But the law treats eradicated species much differently. For species that have been eliminated from the wild, like the gray wolf, the law specifies that reintroductions must be authorized by the Colorado Legislature. Given the influence of anti-wolf organizations and industries with the state—the odds have been stacked against wolf reintroductions. But in recent years, Colorado has taken encouraging steps in an effort to bring back the wolf. For example, Colorado Parks and Wildlife appointed a Colorado Wolf Management Working Group and adopted their recommendations in 2005:
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Where did the gray wolf go?

on January 22, 2018 at 3:39 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 17 Comments |
For millions of years, the gray wolf, alongside the American plains bison, reigned supreme as a keystone feature of the western United States. With bison numbering in the tens of millions — and wolves in numbers as high as two million — the ecology of the region revolved around these two species, with the wolf serving as the shepherd of the buffalo, elk, deer, moose, and American pronghorn. As recently as 150 years ago, the gray wolf existed throughout the contiguous United States, except for the southeastern US, which was the territory of the red wolf. The gray wolf brought balance to ecosystems and helped maintain a healthy landscape. But things were changing. Once the European settlers arrived, the gray wolf found itself edged out by a new economic force — ranching. As settlers moved westward, the once-wild lands were cultivated for large sheep and cattle ranching operations. Even the mighty bison, numbering in the tens of millions, was brought to the brink of extinction. With their native prey nearly eliminated, wolves desperately turned to the rancher's cattle and sheep. Livestock owners responded swiftly, successfully lobbying state and local stockmen’s associations to set bounties on wolves and employ full-time field agents to shoot, rope, trap, gas, stomp, and strangle wolves. In 1915, Congress passed a law that provided for the extermination of wolves on federal lands, even in national parks. As Barry Lopez wrote in his seminal book Of Wolves and Men, "The wolf was not the cattlemen’s only problem. There was weather to contend with, disease, rustling, fluctuating beef prices, the hazards of the trail drives, and the cost of running such enormous operations. But more and more the cattlemen blamed any economic shortfall on the wolf... The wolf became an object of pathological hatred." By the 1920’s, wolves were scarce. The last to survive took on mythical status, with some even given names – like Colorado’s Rags, Whitey and Left – and a place in Western folklore. By 1940, the gray wolf had become extinct in Colorado, removed from the landscape they called home for millions of years. We think it's time we bring the missing howl back to our state. Want to learn more about the gray wolf? Check out our second e-book, A Grand Opportunity.
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