The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long tradition of scientific excellence and always uses the best-available science to inform its work to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the benefit of the American public.
Created in 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt, today's National Wildlife Refuge System protects habitats and wildlife across the country, from the Alaskan tundra to subtropical wetlands. Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Refuge System's 560-plus refuges cover more than 150 million acres and protect nearly 1,400 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.
While national wildlife refuges were created to protect wildlife, they are for people too. Refuges are ideal places for people of all ages to explore and connect with the natural world. We invite you to learn more about and visit the national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Mountain-Prairie Region's Office of Ecological Services (ES) works to restore and protect healthy populations of fish, wildlife, and plants and the environments upon which they depend. Using the best available science, ES personnel work with Federal, State, Tribal, local, and non-profit stakeholders, as well as private land owners, to avoid, minimize, and mitigate threats to our Nation's natural resources.
Providing leadership in the conservation of migratory bird habitat through partnerships, grants, and outreach for present and future generations. The Migratory Bird Program is responsible for maintaining healthy migratory bird populations for the benefit of the American people.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries.
Law enforcement is essential to virtually every aspect of wildlife conservation. The Office of Law Enforcement contributes to Service efforts to manage ecosystems, save endangered species, conserve migratory birds, preserve wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, combat invasive species, and promote international wildlife conservation.
External Affairs staff in the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides support to the regional office and field stations to communicate and faciliate information about the Service's programs to the public, media, Congress, Tribes, partners, and other stakeholders in the 8-state region.
Gray Wolf. Credit: Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf / USFWS.
Gray wolf taking a look back. Credit: Eric Cole / USFWS.
Gray wolf. Credit: Gary Kramer / USFWS.
Gray wolf (Canis lupus)
Wolf restoration in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) has been an amazing success thanks to both the resiliency of wolves and the cooperative efforts of Federal, State, and Tribal agencies, conservation groups, and private citizens; including ranchers, sportsmen, and outfitters.
The wolf population in Northern Rocky Mountains continue to hold steady. As of December 31, 2015, there were at least 1,704 wolves in 282 packs (including 95 breeding pairs) in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming. An additional 200 wolves in 34 packs (including 19 breeding pairs) were estimated in Oregon and Washington. Wolf numbers continue to be robust, stable and self-sustaining in the Northern Rocky Mountains.
Long-term, the Service expects the entire NRM population to maintain a long-term average of around 1,000 wolves. These wolves represent a 400-mile southern range extension of a vast contiguous wolf population that numbers over 12,000 wolves in western Canada and about 65,000 wolves across all of Canada and Alaska.
The Service and our partners will monitor wolves in the region for at least 5 years to ensure that the population’s recovered status is not compromised, and if relisting is ever warranted, we will make prompt use of the Act’s emergency listing provisions.
Click here to view the Northern Rocky Mountain Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segment Area map Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Population Trends in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming graphic »
September 2014 - Federal District Court for the District of Columbia vacated the delisting of wolves in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Therefore, wolves are again listed as a nonessential experimental population in all of Wyoming.
June 2013 – Following successful recovery efforts in the NRM and western Great Lakes regions, the Service proposed to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species throughout the remainder of the United States and Mexico, while maintaining protection for the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) in the Southwest. This action has no impact on the NRM population, but more information can be found here.
August 2012 – The Service announced that the Wyoming population of gray wolves was recovered and no longer warranted protection under the Endangered Species Act. Beginning September 30th, wolves in Wyoming were managed by the state under an approved management plan, as they are in the states of Idaho and Montana.
May 2011 - The Service published a direct final rule delisting wolves in Idaho, Montana and parts of Oregon, Washington and Utah. This final rule implements legislative language included in the Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill. The Service and the states will monitor wolf populations in the Northern Rocky Mountain DPS and gather population data for at least five years.