On the overall wolf populations have decreased somewhat steadily over the last couple decades. Hunting laws have become stricter when it comes to wolves, but environmental problems have also contributed to their dwindling populations. Strides have been made though to increase wolves numbers. Red Wolves were almost extinct, down to just 14 total, but have recently made a comeback with now more than 100 living safely in the wild.
In recent years, efforts have been made to recolonize wolves in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Population numbers are increasing, although with a caveat: pronghorn sheep and other prey are now suffering from the stabilization of wolf groups and the re-emergence of a high-ranking predator. Ultimately, this can be viewed as a positive development in regards to wolves; their peril was linked primarily to hunting and human interference, and wolves should not be held accountable for resuming natural behavior.
In 2009, wolves were actually removed from the Endangered Species list, thanks to the recovered populations in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. However, there are now concerns about maintaining those healthy population levels and proper oversight of hunting activities. It took a significant amount of time and effort to build a sufficient population of wolves in this region, and it would be unfortunate to step backward.
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