HOWL Colorado

Editorial: Endangered wolf needs protection instead of bullets

For eons, gray wolves roamed the northern stretches of the United States. When Europeans settled here, they systematically hunted them down until the species was perilously close to extinction. Like the grizzly bear that adorns our state flag, gray wolves were erased from every corner of California.In 1974, the gray wolf was added to the Endangered Species List. In 1995, the gray wolf was reintroduced to the western United States in an effort to give the animals a chance to live in their former habitats.

Since then, the gray wolf has made a remarkable comeback. Experts estimate that between 1,700 and 3,000 wolves now live in the western United States. They are beginning to thrive again.

But they still have a long way to go. Even if 3,000 wolves live in the entirety of the western states, they are a vanished species, struggling to survive in a world of cattle, sheep and horse ranches.

So far, exactly one gray wolf — dubbed OR7 by biologists — has crossed the border from Oregon into California. He wandered around Siskiyou, Lassen, Shasta and Modoc counties, occasionally wandering back into Oregon…

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