Our relationship with gray wolves is a complicated one, spanning centuries of tension and hostility. In North America, wolves were vilified by European settlers beginning in the 1600s due to the perceived threat that the canines posed to livestock. As a result, wolves became the target of extensive hunting and bounty programs. It wasn’t until 1967 that the species was officially listed as endangered in the U.S. and broadly recognized as an asset to healthy, balanced ecosystems. In the 1990s, wolf populations were reintroduced to wild areas including Yellowstone National Park. Their recovery has been slow, but today there are about 6,000 gray wolves in the lower 48 states — and their numbers are increasing in many parts of their range.
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