Reviving an endangered animal species is no easy task, and it’s rare for population levels to bounce back after years of decline. This is especially true in the case of the California Gray Wolf, whose numbers have dwindled to the low thousands. But with their numbers threatened, one wolf pack made a bold move to ensure their safety — and it gave officials way more than they bargained for.
Of course, nobody saw this coming. If you were hiking through a remote part of California a few years ago, you might have been warned about grizzly bears. But the chances of coming face to face with any other potentially dangerous animals, especially wolves, wasn't very likely...
A century ago
In fact, coming across an actual wolf sounds fairly far fetched to a regular tourist or hiker. In the early 1920s, though, this was a different story. Back then, wolves prowled California’s remote forests and farms alike.
Man versus nature
Because of this, farmers and wolves were constantly at odds. Farmers often hunted wolves in hopes of avoiding a barnyard massacre. They couldn’t have known then the damage they were inflicting, and not just on the wolves.
Wiping out the wolves
In 1924, the very last gray wolf was killed. For the next 90 years, California didn’t have any wolves in an area that could support up to 500 of them. Unbeknownst to farmers, the species' absence shifted the balance of the ecosystems they used to inhabit.