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Please note:  This map is out of date. (We are working on it.)  Additional states that should indicate known wolf populations are:  Washington, Oregon, and California.

United States at a glance

Wolves once ranged over almost all of North America north of Mexico City, except possibly parts of California. Extirpation of gray and red wolf populations began shortly after settlers from Europe arrived. In the United States, the range, population and legal status of wolves varies by state and region. Range lines are not depicted. Main prey for wolves in the United States is moose, deer, beaver, elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Species Information

Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of gray wolves:
Alaska, 8,000-11,000; 48 contiguous states, 5,500
Population trend: Increasing

Number of red wolves: Approximately 30 in the wild and approximately 200 in captivity
Population trend: Decreasing

Legal status: A mixture of Federal protection with some exceptions and state management

10 Things You Need to Know about Wolves and Delisting

wcs51109_exhibitpack red_adult_w_pup

Species 1
Common Names: gray wolf, haqihana (Arapaho),tasha (Caddo), maicoh (Navajo), lobo (Spanish)
Latin Name: Canis lupus

Species 2
Common Name: red wolf 
Latin Name: Canis rufus 
algonquinwolf202Potential species  designation under debate by the scientific community:
Common Name: eastern wolf, timber wolf
Latin Name: Canis lupus lycaon or Canis lycaon
Location: C. lupus and the potential C. lycaon are indistinguishable from each other physically, behaviorally and ecologically. The only way to tell the difference between them is a genetic test and comparison. Both inhabit the Western Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.




Types of Gray Wolves


Arctic gray wolf (D.Mech)


Mexican gray wolf (ADFG)

Gray Wolf Region 1
Common Name: arctic wolf
Location: Canadian/Alaskan Arctic
Gray Wolf Region 2
Common Names: Mexican wolf, lobo
Location: Southwest United States
wcs_10_5_09 (66)

Gray wolf in Minnesota (IWC)


Gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park; USGS/photo by Aurthur Middleton

Gray Wolf Region 3
Common Name: great plains wolf
Location: Western Great Lakes Area of United States and Canada
Gray Wolf Region 4
Common Names: northwestern wolf, rocky mountain wolf
Location: Northern Rocky Mountains of United States and Canada


Human Relationships

Attitudes and Issues


Recovery and Management

Review of Proposed Rule Regarding Status of the Wolf Under the ESA (March 2019)

How are wolves counted?

The Challenge and Opportunity of Recovering Wolf Populations  (en Espanõl)

10 Things You Need to Know about Wolves and Delisting

Endangered Species Act of 1973


Wolf-Human Interactions



Related Links and Information




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