Do wolves pose a threat to people or pets in the backcountry or while camping?

Opponents to wolf restoration in Colorado argue that wolves would present a danger to backcountry recreationists, and that Colorado has too dense a population to allow wolves back in the state. Colorado wildlands that could support wolves total approximately nine times the area of Yellowstone National Park’s 2.2 million acres and lie in the less densely populated western region of the state.

Slough Creek Campground in Yellowstone NP. NPS Photo by D. Renkin.

Let’s look at data from Yellowstone to see if the experience there can suggest how Colorado recreationists might fare with wolves in their wild country:

From 1995 to 2018, Yellowstone hosted 101,070,722 visitors—wolves injured none of them.

For an independent assessment of the relative risks posed by wolves to humans and pets, check out this factsheet from the scientists at Colorado State University:

Our partners at the International Wolf Center put together a good fact sheet about wolves and human safety. The fact sheet is available here.

Putting things in perspective

This infographic can help bring proper perspective to the risks posed by a wide variety of things.

Killer Facts and Odds of Dying