Throughout history, carnivores have been both revered and feared. They've also been persecuted — hunted and killed by those seeking to show mastery over nature's powerful predators and by those who misunderstand these animals' roles.


Because carnivores are at the top of the food chain, they promote an ecosystem's overall health. In areas where human activity has eliminated top predators, their former prey — like deer or elk — tend to overpopulate their habitats, causing the dramatic decline of those ecosystems. In addition, protecting areas large enough to support populations of animals like bears, jaguars and wolves can result in the conservation of a wide range of species, both animals and plants, as well as the integrity of the complex ecosystems they inhabit.

Recognizing the ecological importance of wolves, bears and other carnivores, the Center uses science-based advocacy to defend these magnificent animals from exploitation and extinction. For example, we’ve worked on multiple fronts to ensure a safe and healthy habitat for grizzly bears, to end misguided “predator control” by federal and state agencies, and to bring red wolf poachers to justice. We've worked to protect gray wolves across the countryjaguars and ocelots in the Southwest, grizzly bears in the northern Rockies, and four subspecies of island foxes on California's Channel Islands, among many other predator species.


• Scientific petitions and litigation to win Endangered Species Act protection, critical habitat and up-to-date recovery plans
• Scientific analysis and lawsuits to ensure proper management of federal lands providing key habitats for protected predators
• Advocacy to fight anti-wolf efforts by states and in Congress
• Strategic litigation to counter livestock-industry attacks on wolves and grizzlies
• Digital advocacy and media outreach to educate people about predators’ crucial ecological role and mobilize their support
• Outreach and funding to find and prosecute poachers


The Center's Carnivore Conservation program has:

    • Won Endangered Species Act protection for numerous U.S. carnivores, including the Humboldt marten and Sierra Nevada red fox.

    • Won and defended critical habitat for carnivores nationwide, including more than 700,000 acres for jaguars and 554,454 acres for Pacific fishers.

    • Filed the 1990 lawsuit resulting in the U.S. reintroduction of Mexican gray wolves, since then taking countless other actions in and out of court to protect and properly manage these unique wolves and their habitat.

    • Went to court for grizzly bears, most recently securing rulings against Trump’s premature removal of Yellowstone grizzlies’ federal protections and against destructive sheep grazing in key Idaho grizzly habitat.

    • Won legal agreements curbing Wildlife Services’ killing of bears and other wildlife using cruel methods such as strangulation snares and leghold traps in states like Washington and California.

    • Filed a long list of lawsuits to retain or regain wolf protections, including immediately suing to overturn the Trump administration’s premature removal of protection for almost all gray wolves in the lower 48.

    • Developed guidelines to improve states’ management of wolves according to eight key principles, helping them move away from lethal methods.

    • Filed the petition that won state Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in California.

    • Helped push Washington and other states to ban cruel wildlife-killing contests, saving thousands of coyotes and other targeted wildlife.

Check out our press releases to learn more about actions by Center's Carnivore Conservation program.

Banner photo by by Holy Smokes! Pham/Flickr