First endangered grey wolf pups born in 80 years seen in US

Posted by David Henning on 18 June 2021

The state of Colorado, USA, has welcomed the arrival of their first grey wolf litter since the 1940s after a successful reintroduction project, New York Times reports.

After being hunted to extinction in many parts of America, Grey Wolves are making a comeback.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife commented that several of their staff members have observed at least three pups of the endangered species in June. Wolf numbers declined drastically after their natural environment meant was infringed with growing urbanisation.

Their shrinking habitat combined with the hostility towards them, especially from livestock farmers brought these animals to the brink of extinction. In an ambitious project to reintroduce wolf to the wild after they were hunted to extinction, eight grey wolves from Canada were reintroduced to Yellowstone national park in 1995. They were the first wolves to roam the park since the 1920s.

The wolves now in Colorado are believed to have migrated from Yellowstone National Park, demonstrating a successful reintroduction project. In a statement by Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, he welcomed the historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado.

Wildlife advocates see the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado as a step towards restoring their habitat stretching from Canada to the Mexico border. Scientists are only beginning to fully understand the significance of wolves in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

In Yellowstone, their reintroduction has controlled the elk population, increased the number of beavers in the park. Doug Smith, the lead biologist of the wolf project in the park commented that wolves triggered a still-unfolding cascade effect among animals and plants-one that will take decades of research to understand.

Their successful reintroduction has highlighted the role of apex predators in a balanced ecosystem, and their knock-on effects further down the food chain. Elsewhere, wolves are also making a comeback in Europe, where they have returned to Germany after being hunted to extinction.

Picture: Thomas Bonometti

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