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The Population of Timber Wolves in the United States

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The timber wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the gray wolf, was once prominent in the United States. The breed was hunted to near extinction, though, and has become the subject of conservation efforts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates 5,443 grey wolves inhabit the continental United States, using data from December 2012 and Spring 2013. An additional 7,700 to 11,200 timber wolves are believed to be in Alaska.

Species of U.S. Wolves

The United States has two main species of wolves: the gray wolf and the red wolf. The red wolf (Canis rufus) was considered extinct in the wild in 1980, though a small population of red wolves was bred in captivity and reintroduced. Now about 100 red wolves are in existence in the wild. Timber wolf populations have fared better than those of their red wolf cousins in the lower 48 states, but their greatest numbers are in Alaska, Canada and Asia.