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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Campbell, Sarah K.

Second Advisor

Meyers, Gene (O. Gene)

Third Advisor

Stevenson, Joan C.

Fourth Advisor

James, Paul E., 1975-


The gray wolf, Canis lupus, inhabited all parts of the North American continent for at least 300,000 years prior to European colonization (Wilson, et al. 2000). Lopez (1978) estimated the species population to have been around several hundred thousand in just the western United States and Mexico. In the short time span of 150 years, Euro-Americans fiercely eradicated this predator to the brink of extinction for preying on domesticated livestock during American colonization. By the mid 1900's the gray wolf was absent from this land with the exception of rumored howls in the northernmost states. Then, in 1995, only sixty years after the completion of one of the most aggressive species eradications in U.S. history, the U.S. Federal government reintroduced Canis lupus into Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, despite extreme protests from these Rocky Mountain States. My research seeks information pertaining to the human element that essential to co-existing with wolves. I hypothesize that human-human conflicts about wolves are more prevalent than actual conflicts between humans and wolves, such as attacks or property damage. This hypothesis was examined while conducting fieldwork in Central Idaho. I utilized formal, informal, and unstructured interviews, as well as participant observation, with ranchers, conservationists, and the Nez Perce. The research sample consisted of seven individuals, three ranchers, three conservationists, and one Nez Perce man. My findings indicate that human-wolf conflicts do exist, but that conflicts more often are between different groups of people regarding control over management of valued natural resources. Additionally, I found that people vary in terms of where they derive their authority on such issues, such as number of generations spent on the land versus formal education.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Gray wolf--Idaho--Central--Public opinion; Gray wolf--Reintroduction--Idaho--Central--Public opinion; Public opinion--Idaho--Central

Geographic Coverage

Central (Idaho)




masters theses




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