The total population of wolves in America is about half a million. Of these, Alaska hosts the largest population. Wolves have large, spread-out territories, so their populations aren’t normally estimated by state. Instead, wildlife biologists group them into several regional population groups, say two, three, or more states. The official wolf population includes:
-Western Great Lakes
-Northern Rocky Mountains
In this blog, we’ll learn more about wolf population groups. We relied on official estimates from each state’s Department of Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife Department, and other proper sources. Please note that many states enforced laws protecting wolves after the federal authority listed wolves as endangered.
The number of wolves in Alaska hasn’t experienced the threats or endangerment to which wolf packs in the lower states have been subjected.
Arizona has been hosting wolves since the introduction of the 1982 Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Plan. The species is still endangered, with only about 72 Mexican wolves alive. Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched a new recovery program in 2014 for the Mexican Wolf.
California: About 20
California didn’t re-introduce gray wolves, but they have returned independently. Moreover, these wolves have created three breeding packs: Whaleback Pack, Lassen Pack, and Shasta Pack. The Whaleback brought forth its first filter in 2021. Wolves are listed as endangered, so it’s illegal to hunt, harass, pursue, or kill them.
Idaho permits the hunting of wolves as part of its state management program.
Wolves are protected under federal and state law in Michigan. Wolves were delisted from the endangered list in 2021 but relisted in 2022.
Besides Alaska, Minnesota is the other state that has held a viable gray wolf population. The states enforced the Endangered Species Act of 2014, which has increased the number of gray wolves.
Montana’s Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department affirms that the state has stabilized its wolf population for over a decade.
New Mexico: 114
The Mexican wolves in New Mexico are protected by federal and state law.
North Carolina: 45
Over the last two decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has been restoring red wolves in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
Oregon’s wolves are safeguarded by federal and state law. The state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan uses non-lethal ways of managing human and wolf encounters.
Washington host about 33 packs whereby 19 of them are successfully bred. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has enforced laws to manage conflict with people over livestock predation by wolves.
Wisconsin outlaws lethal predation control of wolves. According to the state Department of Natural Resources, the wolf population is still secure and healthy.
Where Do Wolves Live?
Wolves are highly adaptable as they can live in mountains, forests, grasslands, or deserts. They're also social animals who build dens that accommodate the whole pack.
What Do Wolves Eat?
Wolves are omnivores whose diet is 40% plant materials and 60% meat. Wolves eat:
-Fruits like apples, cowberries, blueberries, etc.
-Small animals like beavers, gophers, rabbits, etc.
-Large ungulates like moose, elk, deer, bison, etc.