In Europe wolves were almost extinct by the time settlers arrived on this continent. At this time there were an estimated 250,000 wolves in the now lower 48 states alone. The settlers brought the same mindset as they had in Europe, wolves are evil. Manifest destiny led the way and the rest is history and present.
Just 10 years after the Mayflower landed the Massachusetts Bay Colony began offering rewards for killing wolves. The wolf was the enemy just like all Native peoples and wildlife. The wolf was made into a scape goat for the uncontrolled, power hungry settlers. (sounds like today) The settlers over-hunted deer. So, they blamed the wolf for low deer populations. (just like today)
In the 19th century the good ol' ranchers came to the west for cheap, abundant land they could destroy with their invasive cows (again with the cattle) Things didn't go so well. This non-native species (the cows. not ranchers. too bad it wasn't both.) began dying of diseases. Again the wolf was falsely blamed. Now for killing livestock. It wasn't long before livestock began replacing the wildlife wolves eat; buffalo and deer. So, fearing wolves would kill the livestock a campaign went out to exterminate the wolf. Professionals working for the livestock industry (no not FWP this time) would use various methods to kill wolves including laying strychnine-poisoned meat in up to 150 mile lines!! When wolves began to be hard to find, they were searched out and killed in various ways: set on fire, shot, poisoned, clubbed, trapped, and inoculated with mange! Good ol' Montana takes credit for killing over 80,000 wolves in 25 years.
In the 1970's less than 1,000 wolves remained in the lower 48. Today there are only 50 Mexican wolves, 100 Red wolves in the wild and between 7,000-11,000 gray wolves in Alaska as well as more than 5,000 in the lower 48 (no where near 250,000) with about 15,000 of these in the Greater Yellowstone Area
Now once again history repeats itself with a rancher, the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar removing the gray wolves from the endangered species list. So, the killing of wolves continues for the same reason as the past--power hungry, immature, people.
Contact Obama and tell him to put the gray wolf back on the endangered species list.
More wolf history