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What Is Wolf Conservation?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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Wolf conservation is the effort by various individuals and governments to save the world’s wolf population from extinction. Over the centuries, humans and wolves have clashed for a variety of reasons, gradually leading to a massive population decline in wolves around the world. People involved in wolf conservation seek to protect wolves in a variety of ways, including educating people about wolves, teaching ranchers better ways to protect their livestock from wolves, passing laws against the hunting of wolves and, sometimes, reintroducing wolves in habitats where the animals are extinct.

Historically, there have been many different kinds of wolves across most areas of the world, and they have often been a big part of ecosystems, sometimes serving as an alpha predator. When humans and wolves live in close proximity, wolves often have a tendency to prey on human livestock, and this has led to a lot of hunting of wolves over time. In most areas of the world where humans and wolves have lived close together, people have either greatly reduced wolf populations, or they have completely wiped them out, and this situation has led to a variety of wolf conservation movements in different areas of the globe.

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There are many different tools used in the efforts towards wolf conservation. Experts have created programs to inform the public about the potential benefits of wolves to local ecosystems. There have also been many laws passed to either make it illegal to hunt wolves or create limits and rules about how many wolves can be hunted and when. Some governments have instituted programs to compensate farmers for lost livestock as a way to help reduce public animosity towards conservation efforts, which can be a very big problem, especially in rural areas with a lot of ranching and farming.

In some areas where wolves have been virtually wiped out, there have been reintroduction programs with varying levels of success. Usually, experts reintroduce the wolves into areas of very thick wilderness, far away from people. Sometimes, the reintroduced animals have difficulty surviving, while some of them have thrived very well. In areas where wolves have been successfully reintroduced, there has generally been a reemergence of livestock predation as well, even though a lot of effort is generally expended to make sure the wolves aren’t initially released near human habitations, and sometimes this has created a lot of political pressure to curb wolf conservation programs and allow hunting.

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