Wolf Recovery: Past, Present, and Future – with a Focus on Western Colorado

As recently as 150 years ago, the gray wolf (Canis lupus) was distributed throughout the contiguous United States (US), except for the southeastern US from central Texas to the Atlantic coast where the red wolf (Canis rufus) occurred. Conflict with agricultural interests resulted in government-supported wolf eradication campaigns beginning in colonial Massachusetts in 1630. Over the next 320 years, the campaigns were extended throughout the US resulting in the near extermination of both species. In recent decades, efforts to recover the red and gray wolf have been carried out. Join ACES and Mike Phillips, Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, for a free lecture to consider recovery efforts as well as to explore the future for both red and gray wolves, with a focus on western Colorado.


 Mike Phillips has served as the Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF) and Coordinator of the Turner Biodiversity Divisions (TBD) since he co-founded both with Ted Turner in June 1997. Prior to that Mike had worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service since 1981.  During his employment with the federal government Mike served as the leader of historic efforts to restore red wolves to the southeastern US and gray wolves to the Yellowstone National Park.  In 2006 Mike was elected to the Montana legislature as the representative for House District 66 in Bozeman.  He served in that post from November 2006 thru November 2012 when he was elected to the Montana Senate.  His service in the Senate will extend through 2020. 

Mike received his M.Sc. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Alaska (Fairbanks) in 1986 and his B.Sc., Ecology, Ethology, Evolution from the University of Illinois (Champaign) in 1980. He lives in Bozeman with his wife (Linda, research scientist, Ecology Department, Montana State University), their four children (Grace – 26, Drake – 21, Samuel – 20, Annabelle 7), and their two dogs Scout and Dew.


The Turner Endangered Species Fund is a non-profit, operational charity that conserves nature by ensuring the persistence of imperiled species and their habitats with an emphasis on private land.  Since inception, the Fund has been involved in reintroduction projects for imperiled plants, birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, an amphibian, and an invertebrate. The Fund is the largest, most significant private effort in the world to redress the extinction crisis. TESF's focus on wolves most recently includes promoting the persistence of wolves on the Flying D Ranch in Montana where TESF is working to understand wolves' relationships with bison and elk and the nearby ranching and hunting operations.  

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