Why is the Grey Wolf Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Grey Wolves
  • 0:47 Endangerment
  • 1:10 Endangerment Factors
  • 2:03 Migration & Movement
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Grey wolves are a kind of wolf that used to live all over North America. Come learn about the reasons why they became endangered and how people are trying to stop them from disappearing from the wild.

Grey Wolves

Imagine walking along on a cloudless, starry night. The moon is bright in the dark sky, and all you can hear is the crunch of your own footsteps. Suddenly, the quiet stillness is broken by the cries of howling grey wolves in the distance that echo around you. Unfortunately, the number of grey wolves in North America has dropped a lot over time. In many places where they used to live, you'll only hear silence because they're gone.

Grey wolves, sometimes spelled 'gray wolves', are a kind of wolf that used to wander all over North America and are still found in parts of the U.S., Europe and Asia. Scientists think there were about two million of them at one time in North America alone.


Over the years, run-ins with people have been deadly for grey wolves. Eventually, there were so few left in the lower 48 states that they had to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, a federal law that protects plants and animals that are in danger of disappearing from the wild forever. Grey wolves are still thought to be endangered, this means they could eventually disappear from nature forever.

Endangerment Factors

Sometimes people don't understand wolves or are afraid of them. Over a period of many years, people have killed wolves by the thousands because they saw them as pests, like rats or roaches.

However, people are a much bigger danger to wolves than wolves are to people. Wolves need land to travel, hunt, and breed; but people have taken over much of the land where grey wolves used to live. This means that the smaller animals they used to hunt for food disappeared, too. If you're hungry and there's nothing in the refrigerator, you can just look in the pantry for a snack - an option not available to a grey wolf.

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