Should Wolves Return to Virginia?

Nov 16, 2020

With so much attention focused on the presidential race, the election of senators and congressmen, you may have missed this news from Colorado.  That’s where, by just over one percent, voters asked their state to come up with a plan for reinstating wolves west of the continental divide. There is also talk of bringing those animals back to Virginia.

North Carolina is trying to bring red wolves back from extinction. Could Virginia be next?
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Red and gray wolves are extinct here, but this sound once echoed through the Commonwealth.

“They historically ranged over this entire area,” says Misty Boos, executive director of Wild Virginia.  “They are definitely a piece of our ecosystem that is missing now.”

Her group is committed to protecting and connecting our last wild places, and while it doesn’t have a position on restoring wolves to this state, it does plan to host an online talk by journalist and author Steven Nash this Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“He’s going to be talking about what makes wolves so unique and distinct as a species and where they historically ranged all through the region, and he’s also going to talk a little bit about the reintroduction program in North Carolina and discuss what might be possible red wolves in Virginia,” Boos says.

You can register for that free talk here.

So far, there are only nine red wolves in North Carolina, but thousands of gray wolves survive in Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Idaho.  Colorado plans to pay for its restoration with with hunting and fishing license fees and will compensate farmers for livestock lost to wolves.  

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.