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It’s been almost twenty years since wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and placed on the endangered species list. At the time, advocates said wolves were a vital link in the natural ecosystem. Returning the park’s premier natural predator would help control Yellowstone’s surplus elk and bison population.
Worried about the effect of wolves on their liveli- hoods, ranchers and hunters protested the reintroduction, and some filed lawsuits. The discussion became heated to the point of threatened violence.
Jump ahead to 2013, when the West has seen a resurgence of wolves and their fate has again become the center of a growing controversy. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that wolves—except for the Mexican wolves of the Southwest—be delisted nationwide as an endangered species and that their management be handled at a state level. Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have already delisted wolves and implemented hunting seasons.
Return of the Wolves explores both sides of the heated issue and examines the role of the wolf in Yellowstone, the West, and the Southwest.
Distributed for KUED, public broadcaster based out of the University of Utah.