Wolves In The West

Official Blog of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project

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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A year with the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project

on December 29, 2017 at 3:04 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 2 Comments |
Is it just us, or did this year really fly by? It feels like just yesterday when we launched our project to restore the gray wolf to the great public wildlands of western Colorado. Since then, we've crisscrossed the state and have talked to tens of thousands of Coloradans—online and offline—about the importance of conservation efforts to re-establish the gray wolf.
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11 Things More Dangerous Than Wolves

on November 8, 2017 at 3:06 PM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 35 Comments |
Consider this — Drinking coffee and using a vending machine pose a greater risk to your safety than the gray wolf. Movies, cartoons, and other media dating back centuries paint a very different picture. Wolves are big, bad, and scary, right? — Not exactly. This characterization makes for some really popular Hollywood movies, but they’re not based in reality. The gray wolf can be dangerous-- nobody’s disputing that--but they do a stellar job staying out of our way. In fact, we’ve coexisted with them for centuries until humans eradicated gray wolf populations and pushed them out of their natural home — the Rocky Mountains! Our project started last spring with one goal in mind — to begin a conversation in Colorado and throughout the West that could help bring the gray wolf home.
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The Gray Wolf Belongs In Colorado’s Wild

Colorado’s natural balance—and how wolves fit in. Our project, launched nearly six months ago, rests on one primary objective: bringing the gray wolf back to Colorado. Before we explain how we want to reintroduce the gray wolf to Colorado, let’s explore the why. Wolves have been missing from Colorado’s landscape for over half a century, since humans forced them out in the 1940s. Colorado was their historic home but after decades of human activities, like hunting and trapping, they have essentially disappeared from the wild. For years, they roamed the Rockies and kept our balance in check and now... they're missing.
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Why wolves mate for life and 22 other interesting things to know about these animals.

on May 6, 2017 at 10:29 AM By | Rocky Mountain Wolf Project | 8 Comments | Wolves Fun Facts
By SIMONE SCULLY, originally published on UpWorthy
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Why conservationists want to bring wolves back to Colorado.

Originally written and published in partnership with the team at UpWorthy.
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Returning Wolf Howls to Colorado

Originally written and published on The Huffington Post. 
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