Canis lupus, the coolest animal in the world, is also called the gray wolf or timber wolf. They live 8 to 13 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity. They are carnivores that prefer to eat large hoofed animals, but also hunt smaller mammals. They used to range over two-thirds of the United States, but now they reside in only Alaska, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming. They communicate through body language, scent marking, barking, growling, and howling. They live in packs, usually with 4 to 9 wolves. Within their pack, the alpha male and the alpha female mate for life. None of the other wolves are allowed to mate.
Causes of Endangerment
Humans compete with wolves for food and have taken over much of the wolves' territory. Habitat fragmentation causes wolves to have to wonder across many different lands to reach new territory; these lands include roads and livestock ranches. The number one cause of death for wolves is hunting and trapping. Many ranchers suspect wolves of killing their livestock, so they trap and kill wolves to protect their animals.
Possible Courses of Action
The U.S. government could reimplement restrictions on wolf hunting. It could also protect the wolves' habitat from being fragmented. Scientists could create nonlethal deterrents for ranchers to protect their livestock without killing the wolves. All of these actions would help the gray wolf population to bounce back from endangerment.