Wrestling Wolves, Ely, Minnesota, 1998

Photograph by Joel Sartore

Gray wolves, like these two wrestling at Ely, Minnesota's International Wolf Center, were hunted to near extinction in the western U.S. in the 1800s and early 1900s. But 34 years on the Endangered Species List and a successful federal reintroduction program begun in 1995 has helped the species recover dramatically. Western populations were delisted in February of 2008.

—Photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "Return of the Gray Wolf," May 1998, National Geographic magazine

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