Q: Aren’t wolves endangered? Anti-hunting groups tell us all the time that wolves are on the Endangered Species List. How is it legal to hunt endangered animals?
A: Not true at all. Wolves are not only NOT endangered, they are abundant, and Grey (Gray) wolf populations are stable or on the rise throughout their range in North America. It’s a popular misconception by many non-hunters and, surprisingly, even some that hunt.
Alaska alone has between 7,000-11,000 wolves! Canada has over 50,000, likely many more than that, and the re-introduction into the North West States was so successful that most areas exceeded their goals by at least a factor of three! These States have regular open seasons now, as do most of the Great Lakes States and, of course Alaska. Hunting is legal Canada wide where an abundance of wolves exist, and some Provinces have so many wolves that there is either a 3 wolf limit, or no bag limits at all.
Idaho Montana and Wyoming had a handful of wolves until the re-introduction of a larger sub-species of wolf from British Columbia. The famous Druid Peak pack of the Lamar Valley started life near Fort Saint John, BC. That one packed peaked at 37 individual wolves!
These States currently have over TEN TIMES the amount of wolves the original goals aspired to, and some packs, like the infamous Wedge Pack of northern Washington State specifically targeted ranches and cattle, and most had to be culled by the State. It’s that much of a problem. Several individuals survived, have been enhanced by a smaller pack from the east, and are re-forming as of this writing (Sept 2013), so it remains to be seen if they have learned not to kill cattle. For more reading, please read this PDF of the original Wolf Recovery Plan, published in 1987. The plan then was to establish ten breeding pairs in each of the three areas where the northern Grey Wolf was introduced into an area where a smaller sub-species existed (guess what happened to the native wolves?).
Link to the original plan is HERE Read pages 31 and 32. Once the thirty breeding pairs of wolves goal was reached, the original intent was to de-list. Those goals have been far exceeded, a fact that you can see by reading the documents linked above.
Canada disputably has the world’s largest population of Grey Wolves. Some claim it’s in Russia, but figures indicate that the population there is about 30,000 and increasing. Canada has between fifty and sixty THOUSAND wolves, and are protected in only 3% of their range for a reason. They don’t need protection. They need control.
So if you add up the figures, the Grey (Gray) Wolf in North America numbers roughly seventy-five THOUSAND. Hardly endangered in any way, shape, or form.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Grey wolf, or Canis Lupus, is of Least Concern, and is in no way threatened or endangered.
I hope this answers your question.