Second only to humans in adapting to climate extremes, gray wolves once ranged from coast to coast and from Alaska to Mexico in North America. They were absent from the East and the Southeast, which were occupied by red wolves (Canis rufus), and from the large deserts in the southwestern States. By the early 20th century, government-sponsored predator control programs and declines in prey brought gray wolves to near extinction in the lower 48 States.

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