2015 Brings No Conclusion on Red Wolf Recovery Strategy in Eastern North Carolina | DFA 90.7
As 2015 draws to a close, uncertainty remains over the fate of a federal program in North Carolina to protect the red wolf from extinction. The US Fish & Wildlife Service has repeatedly delayed the decision to continue or abandon the Red Wolf recovery program that was initiated in 1987. Mark Rumsey of the WFAE recapped this year’s developments:
North Carolina is home to the world’s only wild population of red wolves. They roam an area of five counties on the Albemarle Peninsula, between Greenville and the Outer Banks. Wildlife officials say the red wolf population in the recovery area peaked at around 130 almost ten years ago. In October, the US Fish & Wildlife Service estimated the number to be between 50 and 75. A group called the Endangered Species Coalition says that since 2012, more than 30 Red Wolves have been shot or struck and killed by vehicles.
The Fish & Wildlife Service has been studying the advisability of continuing the red wolf recovery program for over a year. A decision has been postponed twice this year. In late October, the federal agency said it needed more time to investigate the matter and appointed a new “Red Wolf Recovery Team” for that purpose.
In a conference call with reporters, regional director of fisheries and wildlife Cindy Dohner said the group would examine several issues, including the long-term viability of the red wolves which are kept by about 40 zoos in the region. United States. The recovery team will also study crosses between red wolves and coyotes, human-caused red wolf deaths in the North Carolina recovery area, and the effects of climate change.
During the October briefing, Dohner said the Fish & Wildlife Service now plans to decide by summer 2016 whether to continue the Red Wolf recovery effort. Kim Wheeler of the North Carolina-based Red Wolf Coalition says animals deserve the continued attention of wildlife officials. “It’s going to set a precedent,” Wheeler said. “It’s not just something that will affect wolves, but their decision will affect many endangered species at all levels,” she added.
The US Fish & Wildlife Service said that even if it decides to halt the recovery program for the red wolf in eastern North Carolina, the federal agency will continue to work to support the species as long as it does. would remain on the endangered species list.