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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

The history of wolves as an endangered species in the United States goes back to 1974 when the gray wolf was first listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Trump administration overturned this federal protection in 2020 stating the species made a “successful recovery”, which led to an uptick in wolf slaughters across the country. States such as Idaho and Montana passed legislation following the delisting that allowed for mass slaughter of wolves, up to 90% of the population. In Yellowstone National Park, 25% of the protected wolf population was hunted and killed in 2022. This is detrimental to an ecosystem that was artificially brought back from extinction in the park in 1995. 

On February 10th, 2022, a federal judge reinstated protections to wolf populations across the lower 48 states. This protection does not extend to the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, which is problematic as this is where mass slaughter legislation is active against the wolves. News outlets share the success of relisting the wolves but fail to consider that 80% of wolf slaughters occur in the non-protected region. The U.S. Department of Interior has relayed the severity of wolf population decline in the Northern Rockies, but the Biden Administration has failed to relist the wolves as of yet. 

A 2022 survey estimates only 163 wolves remain in the state of Wyoming. Gray wolves are a keystone species, particularly to the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem, and are essential to the survival of the park. If immediate action is not taken, extinction seen prior to the 1995 reintroduction may occur again. The #RelistWolves campaign partners with indigenous groups in the Northwest as well as thirty organizations that share the goal of relisting the gray wolf nationally as an endangered species. The campaign website lists numerous resources regarding wolf populations, as well as mythbusting common misconceptions about the conservation process. To take action in wolf population recovery, send a letter to Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Department of Interior, imploring her to keep her promise of commitment to wolf conservation. 

Resources for further action and letter templates are attached below. 



Hey! My name is Novalee Knepper and I'm from Orlando, Florida. I'm an environmental science major here at USF. I love reading, journaling, thrifting, and bringing home more plants. I hope to one day write for National Geographic as a journalist.