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Abstract or Description

The range of the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), once covering most of North America, has been drastically reduced by an estimated 95% due to habitat loss and extermination by humans. The wolf was extirpated from Maine in the 1800’s. Wolf reintroductions have been suggested for Maine, but there is some debate about how much land is suitable for wolves. I developed a wolf habitat suitability analysis using ArcGIS and data from the Maine Office of GIS and the United States National Atlas. The model incorporates land cover, presence of major roads and railways, conservation land, industrial, non-industrial, and public woodlot ownership, distance from major points of population, deer population, and slope. The model results show areas of high and low wolf suitability in Maine. The model suggests that the best potential habitat for wolves in Maine is situated in the northwest of the state. Possible future reintroductions or natural colonization from other areas would have the highest likelihood of survival in these areas.

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