Scientists say the red wolf is a valid species


Washington DC– The Animal Welfare Institute congratulates the announcement according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics that the red wolf is a “distinct species.” As detailed in the report of the national academies, “Assessment of the taxonomic status of the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolfSome of the country’s leading geneticists, taxonomists and canine experts have determined that this finding was the most plausible of the taxonomic options considered and that red wolves are distinct from coyotes and gray wolves.

“Today’s discovery should refute the unscientific claims by opponents of protection of the red wolf that the animal is not a separate species and therefore does not deserve protection under the species law in Canada. endangered, ”said Cathy Liss, AWI President.

The red wolf was originally listed in 1967 as an endangered species under the precursor of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980, an experimental population of captive-bred red wolves was reintroduced to eastern North Carolina in 1987. ESA requires this population to be managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in a way that will allow it to recover.

Over the next 25 years, the recovery program was a resounding success and the wild population of red wolves grew to approximately 150 individuals or more. However, starting in 2012, the population began to decline due to hostile actions taken by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and gross mismanagement by the USFWS.

Despite the repeated legal victories of AWI and its co-plaintiffs which forced the USFWS to protect and recover the species and to stop authorizing the culling of red wolves which posed no threat to human security and property, the USFWS has enabled the wild population to decline to near extinction. It is now down to just 18 wolves, with just one breeding pair, and the Red Wolf‘s original recovery area has been significantly reduced in response to political pressure.

“The USFWS decision to reverse the course of a successful recovery program and facilitate the Red Wolf‘s slide to extinction in the wild is a travesty and a blatant violation of federal law,” says DJ Schubert, Wildlife Biologist at AWI. “With today’s discovery, there is no longer an excuse not to immediately restore all protections and urgently adopt management measures to replenish North Carolina’s wild red wolf population and restore the species in other areas of its historical range. “


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