Where Wolves Roamed


Under the government's current wolf reintroduction program, wolf populations in the lower 48 states will reach only 5 percent of their historic numbers at best, says Matt Dietz. A graduate student at the University of Montana, Dietz worked with the Bozeman, Mont.-based Predator Project on a 46-page study of wolf reintroduction alternatives. By concentrating on ecology, he identified 19 potential locations that were previously overlooked. He suggests restoring wolves to such areas as the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, northeast Utah, central Idaho, northern New England and even the Florida Everglades. Dietz also calculates that remote areas in northern Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont could sustain up to 800 wolves. The problem with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studies, he concludes, is that they place too much emphasis on public acceptance and political constraints. "Without the wolf," Dietz says, "an ecosystem is less than it was and could be, for it is an ecosystem without all of its parts." Copies of Matt Dietz's Initial Investigations of Potentially Suitable Locations for Wolf Reintroduction in the Contiguous United States are available from the Predator Project, P.O. Box 6733, Bozeman, MT 59771 (406/587-3389).