On February 10, 2022, a federal judge restored federal protections to wolves in much of the contiguous United States. However, protections were not restored to wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region where over 80% of the slaughter occurs. Nearly 1,000 wolves have been hunted down in these states in the last year alone. We must do more to save the Northern Rockies wolves.

"Raise Your Voice" starring Jason Momoa and created by Sender Films for the #RelistWolves campaign.

How we got here:

1974: Wolves became one of the first species protected under the Endangered Species Act after government sponsored hunts across the country decimated the population. As the species had a chance to recover, its numbers inched up to 6,000 across the continental U.S. 

2011: Congress removed ESA protections from Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming).

2020: The Trump administration delisted wolves nationwide (in the rest of the lower 48 states). This emboldened states like Idaho and Montana into passing legislation that both allows for and encourages the mass slaughter (up to 90%) of their wolf populations and permits extreme hunting methods like baiting, trapping, night hunting, and chasing down wolves with packs of dogs and ATVs. 

2021: The Biden Administration announced that they were backing President Trump’s decision to remove protections for Gray Wolves despite an estimated population decline of 27% - 33% in Wisconsin after the February 2021 hunts and credible reports of wolf pups being slaughtered in their dens in Idaho in summer 2021. On September 15, the Department of Interior determined the deteriorating situation in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region warranted a status review but failed to temporarily relist the wolves thereby, greenlighting the continued slaughter of wolves in the interim. 

2022: On February 10, a federal judge restored protections to wolves in much of the contiguous U.S., but not to wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region (where we see over 80% of the killings).  


Now is the time for President Biden and Interior Secretary Haaland to take action and restore federal protection to the Gray Wolf in the Rocky Mountains.

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The Gray Wolf is still
in
Grave Danger

If we don’t ACT NOW we could lose them for good. The Biden Administration has the power to save Rocky Mountain wolves by restoring them to the Endangered Species List. And we need your help.

Photo by Ronan Donovan

Where Hunts Are Happening

IDAHO

Idaho passed legislation in the spring of 2021 that incentivizes and sanctions the slaughter of 90% of Idaho’s wolf population using a variety of cruel tactics like chasing wolves with dogs and automobiles until they tire out.

The new laws went into effect in Idaho on July. In addition to ongoing private hunts, the USDA's Wildlife Services has slaughtered wolf pups. The Foundation for Wildlife Management has been using state funds to distribute bounties to hunters that successfully kill wolves. This season, 266 wolves have already been massacred in Idaho.

MONTANA

In Montana, the state government has sanctioned the killing of up to 85% of its wolf population starting in fall 2021.

The new laws allow for the use of choke-hold snares and extend trapping and hunting further into breeding season. This past year, Montana Governor Gianforte personally slaughtered a Yellowstone wolf in violation of state law and was given a warning by state agencies. So far 237 wolves have been confirmed to have been killed in Montana, including 25 Yellowstone wolves around the boundary of the park. Hunting on the border of Yellowstone National Park (Region 3) closed on February 17, after hunters hit the quota of 82 wolves killed in the region (yet 85 wolves have been killed to date).

WYOMING

Since 2017, wolf hunts have decimated Wyoming’s wolf population.  During the 2020 hunt, 119 wolves died in Wyoming. Only 327 wolves now remain in the state.

Nevertheless, Wyoming is allowing a virtually unregulated hunt in 2021. In 85% of the state -- including regions that border Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park -- hunters can slaughter wolves using “whatever means necessary,” including snares, explosives, and ATVS to capture and kill the animals.  

 

News & Updates

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Photo by Jake Davis

Myths vs. Fact

MYTH

The federal government consulted all relevant stakeholders when deciding to delist wolves

FACT

President Trump did not consult Indigenous representatives when he chose to delist wolves, even though wolves are sacred creatures in many Native American cultures. By delisting wolves without the consultation or consent of Tribal nations, the federal government ignored its treaty and trust obligations.

 

Because of the cultural significance of wolves, some 200 Indigenous tribes have protested the decision to remove wolves from the Endangered Species List and have urged the federal government to relist wolves. 

MYTH

Wolves threaten the livestock industry

Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of unwanted livestock deaths, though losses can fall disproportionately on some individual livestock producers.

Lethal removal of wolves can disrupt wolf social structures, does not always address the underlying causes of livestock depredation and wolves will often reestablish in the same areas.

Non-lethal methods provide another option for addressing livestock depredations. Implementation of nonlethal tools, like range riders and fladry, which involves creating a perimeter of colorful flags around livestock, combined with other techniques like strobe lights and loud noises have effectively reduced interaction between livestock and wolves. However wolves can become habituated to nonlethal tools over time, therefore, proactive methods to prevent wolves from being attracted to a livestock operation – such as removing bone piles -  can further minimize livestock loss to wolves.

FACT

MYTH

Wolves are killing all of the elk in the Northern Rockies, making it more difficult to hunt large game

FACT

Wolves and elk can live in ecological balance, as predator-prey relationships stabilize the populations of both species. Elk naturally defend themselves from the risks of predation by adopting more cautious behaviors when faced with predators. These behavioral adaptations help sustain the elk population.

Today, elk populations in the Northern Rockies are thriving. In 2020, there were over 120,000 elk in Idaho and over 130,000 elk in Montana.

MYTH

The wolf population has already bounced back to a stable size. As such, the species does not need the protections of the Endangered Species List

FACT

While the wolf population has reached the recovery thresholds that were determined in 1978, these metrics are woefully outdated. As the field of conservation biology has evolved and climate change has posed new threats to endangered species, it is critical to update recovery thresholds according to modern science.

Today, the population of wolves is in jeopardy. Gray wolves are functionally extinct in 80% of their historic range and just 6,000 wolves live across the continental U.S.  

Extreme wolf hunts further jeopardize the stability of the wolf population. This year’s Idaho wolf hunt authorizes 90% of the state’s wolves to be killed, and Montana’s laws allow the hunting of 85% of wolves

Dan Ashe, the former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director who oversaw the delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies, has argued that the wolf population is in jeopardy because state hunts “are erasing progress made to conserve this species.” Ashe has publicly called for the federal government to reinstate protections for American wolves. 

MYTH

Data-driven science helps determine state wolf-hunt quotas in order to prevent massive population declines

FACT

Across the country, state legislatures have established wolf hunting quotas that ignore the recommendations of biologists and land managers.

The Idaho wolf hunt law passed despite the objections of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

MYTH

On February 10, 2022, a Federal Judge restored federal protections to all wolves in the U.S.

FACT

Federal protections were restored to wolves in MUCH of the United States, but NOT to wolves Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming  –– where over 80% of the slaughter is taking place.

MYTH

Wolves are a foreign species to Idaho (they’re from Canada)

FACT

The evidence shows that gray wolves once ranged from coast-to-coast and from Alaska to Mexico, and they were one of the most wide-ranging animals on the continent.

 
 
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