Skip to main content

Success Story?

David Tipling—Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Gray wolves have lived in North America for at least half a million years. There were once many wolves here. But by the 1960s, the United States wolf population had crashed. Only a small number were left.

A wolf threatens a pack of bison. The animals are in Yellowstone National Park.


In 1973, the Endangered Species Act became law. It protects animals that could become extinct. Gray wolves were put on the endangered-species list. Killing them was illegal.

This law was a success. Today, there are more than 6,000 gray wolves in the continental continental PW CONTINENTAL THE GOOD BRIGADE—GETTY IMAGES having to do with the United States except for Alaska and Hawaii (adjective) Sonia's dream is to travel across the continental U.S. U.S.

Un lobo amenaza a una manada de bisontes. Los animales están en el Parque Nacional Yellowstone.


In January 2021, the U.S. government removed wolves from the endangered-species list. But some conservationists conservationist PW conservationist PAUL SOUDERS—GETTY IMAGES someone who works to protect plants, animals, and natural resources (noun) Conservationists are working to protect mountain gorillas, which are an endangered species. disagree with the decision. They say wolves still need protection.

Saving the Wolves

In parts of the country, wolves are doing well. Some say that means the wolf does not belong on the endangered-species list. But gray wolves used to live across most of the U.S. Now they are found in fewer than 12 states.

Estos lobos grises son cachorros. Cuando son adultos pueden pesar 100 libras.


Some people think that means the species is still at risk. “There are still too many places where the population hasn’t come back,” says Jason Rylander. He is a conservationist.

Environmental groups are suing sue PW SUE IZUSEK—GETTY IMAGES to take a disagreement to court (verb) After getting hurt in a car accident, David sued the other driver. the U.S. government for removing wolf protections. For now, it is up to each state to protect most of its wolves. In November 2020, people in Colorado voted to protect wolves inside the state’s borders.

Estos lobos juegan en un bosque nevado de Montana. Su pelaje grueso los mantiene calientes. Un lobo es liberado en el Parque Nacional Yellowstone. El lobo fue reubicado de Canadá.


Gray Wolf Facts

The gray wolf has long teeth. It has strong jaws. Male wolves weigh about 100 pounds. They are more than six feet long. (That includes a wolf’s bushy tail. It is one or two feet long.) Wolves live in packs, or groups. They communicate using their bodies and tails. They also howl. Howling helps pack members stay in touch.