Gray wolves, also known as timber wolves, are the largest members of the canid family. Despite the word “gray,” they come in a variety of colors including almost black.
Wolves in this ecosystem
When European settlers first arrived in the western United States, they set out on a campaign to eliminate wolves. They were virtually eliminated from the greater Yellowstone ecosystem, which caused significant changes to the ecosystem structure and animal populations. Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 from Canada.
The IUCN considers gray wolves a “species of least concern.” With the U.S. government, it’s more complicated than that. The population in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has been delisted. In Minnesota, they are considered threatened. Elsewhere in the country, they are classified as endangered but have been proposed for delisting.
Wolves eat primarily medium to large ungulates, like deer, elk, moose, and pronghorns. As the apex predator in our ecosystem, they will supplement their diets by eating just about any smaller mammals, including rabbits, hares, mice, marmots, weasels, and even badgers and foxes.
BEHAVIOR & Lifespan
Wolves live in highly-territorial packs.
Apache, our old gray wolf, passed away in November of 2016. We are currently working on a new wolf habitat that will allow us to house a pack of 3-5 wolves. We hope to have this habitat done in late 2018.