Wolves are a natural part of almost every ecosystem in America, will they be allowed to return?

It is back in the 1940s that wolves were last resident in the Grand Canyon national park. This is why it was so exciting that a grey wolf is roaming the northern rim of the grand canyon.

Wolves are slowly repopulating their way across the USA

It is likely, that over the next century wolves will return to all of the North America continent that they are not continually hunted out of. This map of where wolves have been recorded, and the rough outline of where wolf habitat is currently defined. However, the map below shows each state in the USA and the estimated number of wolves living within the state lines.

Here you can see, that wolves are slowly continuing their recolonization of land that they have been absent from for as much as a century. This is a good thing, while there are places where this will make livestock farming more complicated, it will keep populations on control all over the continent. There are generally a large number of methods to control livestock predation, and these can all reduce predation to close to zero. It is likely that should it be given the chance, Jaguars will also return to the southern USA.

Wolves were delisted from the endangered list back in 2020 under the Trump administration. This is despite the fact that the wolf has only returned to a small part of the USA.

The lower 48 states only have around 7500 wolves across them all, while Alaska has a wolf population of between 7000-11000, in other words more than the rest of the USA combined. That means that when looking at the wolves of the USA, as much as half of them live in just 17% of the land.

In places like California, there are great areas of wilderness, as such, while the population is currently small it is likely to grow fast (if given the space).

Another thing of note, is that the Mexican wolf is considered a separate subspecies, and without Canada or Alaska, this species came far closer to extinction. As of 2023, there are 241 wild Mexican wolves in the US and 45 in Mexico (as well as 380 in captive breeding programs).

With wolf populations in the South, as well as along the majority of the northern border of the USA, it is pretty clear that if left to their own devices, wolves would return to most of the USA, and would likely do this fast. How quickly humanity will allow this return is a different quiestion.

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