The wolf is the largest member of the canine family.
All gray wolf populations in the lower 48 states are listed as endangered except in Minnesota, where they are listed as threatened. Populations in Alaska are unlisted.
In the U.S. there are an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 wolves in Alaska and 2,700 in the lower 48 states.
Because wolves need wildland habitat and an abundant supply of prey, human encroachment into wolf territory has become a leading threat to their survival. The illegal killing of wolves is also a serious problem.
Wolves live eight to 12 years.
Wolves live in packs, which are complex social structures that include the breeding adult pair (the alpha male and female) and their offspring. A hierarchy of dominant and subordinate animals within the pack help it to function as a unit. Wolves communicate by scent-marking, vocalizing (including howling), facial expressions and body postures.
They normally prey on large hoofed mammals such as deer and elk but occasionally prey on smaller animals such as beavers or rabbits.
On average, wolves stand 26 to 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh 55 to 115 pounds.
Wolves can be found in forests, deserts, plains, mountains, and on tundra. Today the range of the gray wolf has been reduced to portions of the United States (Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, Wyoming), Canada, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Russia.
Wolves are found in Denali National Park and Preserve, AK; Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, AK; Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, AK; Katmai National Park and Preserve, AK; Kenai Fjords National Park, AK; Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, AK; Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, AK; Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, AK; Noatak National Preserve, AK; Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, AK; Isle Royale National Park, MI; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, MI; Voyageurs National Park, MN; Glacier National Park, MT; North Cascades National Park, WA; Grant Teton National Park, WY; Yellowstone National Park, WY.