When the gray wolf was first given protection under the Endangered Species Act, there were 1,000 wolves in total on American soil. Today, almost 40 years on, the U.S. is now home to over 5,000 of these animals.
In a statement on the growing gray wolf population, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service said, “Recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is one of our nation’s great conservation successes.”
In fact, replenishing the wolf population has been such a success that there is a possibility that the gray wolf will no longer be on the endangered species list.
There are however, conservationists who worry that removing the gray wolf from the ESA list, will inhibit the progress of the growing wolf population, even causing numbers to decline again.
Collette Adkins, from the Center for Biological Diversity, stated, “the proposal would be a death sentence for gray wolves across the country.” She goes on to explain that wolves are a threat to the livestock industry, a group that would legally be allowed to hunt the wolves, if they are no longer protected. She says that trophy hunters would also be a major threat to wolves if they are taken off the list.
All animals play a key role in their ecosystems. As top predators, wolves maintain a balance that is vital to a sustainable planet. The recent healthy population of gray wolves is an opportunity to make strides toward homeostasis in the American wild.
As for the future of the protection for the gray wolf from the ESA, only time will tell if it is truly safer, to be endangered.