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Wolves of the World
United States
United States

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 European settlement.  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 there are moose, deer, beaver, elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Species Information

Gray wolves at the International Wolf Center

Species 1

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

Red Wolf

Species 2
Common Name:  red wolf
Latin Name:  Canis rufus

Potential species designation under debate by the scientific community:
Common Name: eastern wolf, timber wolf
Latin Name: 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.

Gray Wolf Region 1
Common Name: arctic wolf
Location: Canadian/Alaskan Arctic

Arctic gray wolf (D.Mech)

Gray Wolf Region 2
Common Names: Mexican wolf, lobo
Location: Southwest United States

Mexican gray wolf (ADFG)

Gray Wolf Region 3
Common Names: great plains wolf, timber wolf
Location: Western Great Lakes Area of United States and Canada

Gray wolf in Minnesota (IWC)

Gray Wolf Region 4
Common Names: northwestern wolf, rocky mountain wolf
Location: Northern Rocky Mountains of United States and Canada

Gray wolf in Yellowstone National Park; U.S. Geological Survey/photo by Aurthur Middleton

Current Wolf Population, Trend, Status
Number of gray wolves:  Alaska, 8,000-11,000; 48 contiguous states, 5,500
Number of red wolves: 130
Population trend: Increasing
Legal status: A mixture of Federal protection with some exceptions and state management

Human Relationships

Attitudes & Issues


Recovery & Management 


Wolf-Human Interactions



Related Links & Information