After gray wolves were hunted to near extinction in the lower forty-eight states, the species was listed under the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The ESA protected gray wolves under federal law and mandated that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) develop a recovery plan to conserve the species. In 1987, the USFWS adopted the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan which included a proposal to reintroduce gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho.
The idea of bringing back wolves to their western homeland was controversial and the subject of contentious debate. While many people — including ranchers, farmers, and hunters — fiercely opposed the restoration, a whole host of supporters were dedicated to returning wolves to their rightful place in nature. They voted for pro-wolf politicians; spoke for wolves in politics and courtrooms; signed petitions; donated to wolf conservation organizations and to compensate ranchers for verified livestock losses caused by wolves; and influenced ranchers, hunters, family and friends.
After many hard-fought battles, the Clinton Administration endorsed gray wolf reintroduction. In 1995 and 1996, 66 wolves were captured in Canada and reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the central Idaho wilderness.
Horace Axtell, a Nez Perce tribal elder and leader of the ancient Seven Drum religion, offered this blessing at a ceremony honoring the wolves' return to Idaho,
Gray wolf recovery in America is one of the world's greatest wildlife conservation success stories. However, despite the progress that has been made, the species is far from adequately restored. While the ESA requires a species to be well-distributed throughout its historic range, gray wolves currently occupy less than 15% of their former habitat in the lower forty-eight states. Without protections in place to keep wolves safe, the existence of the wolves our nation worked so hard to restore is again in great danger.
Published in the 20th year after reintroduction to Yellowstone, Yuskavitch examines the wolve that emigrated from reintroduced areas to the Pacific Northwest. Discusses the politics that surround wolf populations. 2015
A New York Times Notable Book on the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone including the details of the wolves lives and all the politics behind it all. 1997
The author fell in love with an orphan wolf pup and vowed to make a difference. Askins spent fifteen years working to restore wolves to Yellowstone. Part memoir, and part love story you will not forget. 2002
Follow along with retired wildlife biologist Niermeyer as he tracks wolves and shares their lives in his second book. The author has an interesting perspective as he formerly trapped wolves for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He now is an inspirational advocate for wolves. 2016
The author, a nature writer and NPR contributor combines science and storytelling to the 300-year history of wild wolves in America. One chapter is devoted to the story of 06. The book critically acclaimed internationally, was also selected as Forbes Magazine Conservation Book of the Year. 2017
Project Leaders Phillips and Smith tell the story of Yellowstone wolf reintroduction from the inside including public relations, capture, relocation, acclimation, release and tracking. Includes moving essays along with over 70 color photos. 1996
Anthology of documents related to the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone including environmental impact and wolf movement tracking reports. Forward penned by Bruce Babbitt. 1996
The New York Times calls the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone “arguably the world’s greatest wildlife experiment.” Assembled by three of the biologists who studied the wolves return, the book provides a wealth of scientific research and includes essays from every wolf biologist in America today. 2020