The public overwhelmingly opposes plan to restrict North Carolina red wolf recovery


For immediate release, November 1, 2018


Perrin de Jong, Center for Biological Diversity, (828) 595-1862,
Ron Sutherland, Wildlands Network, (919) 641-0060,
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, (914) 763-2373,
Ben Prater, Defenders of Wildlife, (828) 412-0981,
Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128,

Analysis: The public overwhelmingly opposes plan to restrict North Carolina red wolf recovery

99.9% of commentators support the conservation of the red wolf

WASHINGTON – The United States Fish and Wildlife Service proposal Drastically reducing protection for the country’s only wild population of endangered red wolves has met almost unanimous opposition from more than 100,000 members of the public.

Of 108,124 comments submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposal, 107,988 comments – or 99.9% – spoke in favor of red wolves and their need for strong federal protections.

In June, the Service solicited public comment on its management plan for the red wolf, which survives only in eastern North Carolina with just 30 individuals.

The Service has proposed to reduce the recovery area where wolves can safely roam by more than 90%. The revised recovery area should only provide enough space for 10-15 Red Wolves.

The proposal would remove protections for all red wolves that roam the coast of Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the Dare County bombing zone. The plan would allow anyone to kill Red Wolves on private land for any reason.

“People overwhelmingly oppose the Trump administration’s dangerous plan to reduce the red wolf recovery area,” said Perrin de Jong, an attorney with the North Carolina-based Center for Biological Diversity. “This reckless proposal would put these unique animals in immediate danger of being lost from the wild forever. Citizens of the Salvage Zone, across the state and across the country clearly want the federal government to do more, not less, to protect the world’s most endangered wolf.

“Many of us have long wondered why Americans of previous generations did not rise up to save the ivory-billed woodpecker, the homing pigeon or the Carolina parakeet,” said Dr. Ron Sutherland, scientist in conservation for the Wildlands Network. “Well, here we are in 2018, and the American people have said with a loud and almost unanimous voice that the red wolf must be saved from extinction and kept in the wild where the species belongs. Congress and the Service will they listen? ”

“Once again, the American public has expressed overwhelming support for the red wolf. The US Fish and Wildlife Service must answer this call, re-engage in proven management strategies, and work to prevent the dog from becoming extinct. most threatened in the world, “said Ben Prater, Southeast Program Director, Defenders of Wildlife.

“Every voice that rises for wildlife can make a difference, and Americans overwhelmingly support the Red Wolf recovery program,” said Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “We rely on the Service to understand and track the best scientific data available to ensure that the world’s most endangered wolves remain a living and breathing part of the eastern North Carolina landscape.”

People living in areas most directly affected by red wolves have also expressed strong support for their conservation. Of the 2,923 comments submitted by North Carolinians, 2,898 comments, or 99.1%, were in favor of the red wolves. In the current five-county recovery area in eastern North Carolina where wolves live, 75 of 95 comments submitted were also in favor of wolves.

The North Carolina governor also spoke out against the Service’s proposal and expressed support for the red wolf’s recovery. “There is a viable way forward for North Carolina Red Wolves living in the wild, and I have asked relevant departments in my administration to work with the USFWS to continue the recovery strategy and build on it. its success to date, “Governor Roy Cooper said in a comment submitted to the Service on July 30.

Only 19 comments specifically supported the agency’s plan to remove the Red Wolf’s wards and reduce the recovery area. Of 30 additional comments opposing the Red Wolf’s recovery, 13 were from a single real estate developer.

Volunteers from the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Wildlands Network and Wolf Conservation Center each reviewed the thousands of comments submitted to produce this analysis.

In the past, the Service has published inaccurate counts of public commentary on wolves it has received. In 2017, during the initial scoping period of the current proposal, the agency reported only 12,000 of the 55,000 comments from Red Wolves, ignoring the many compilations of comments submitted by conservation organizations.

“Wildlife, including red wolves, are managed by the USFWS in trust for the American people,” noted DJ Schubert, wildlife biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute. “The people have now spoken loud and clear about their support for the protection and recovery of the red wolf in the wild and it is time for the government to start listening and sticking to the clear message from the public. Less than 20 years ago, there were over 130 red wolves in the wild. These numbers can be achieved again if the USFWS complies with federal law.

Additional media resources
Excel spreadsheets documenting all comments included in the counts reported above can be found in this Filing file, which also contains a select group of individual comments from various scientific, legal and political authorities.

Wildlands Network has placed pictures of wild and captive wolves in this Filing file.
Wildlands Network videos on wild red wolves are available here.

The Wolf Conservation Center also has an extensive library of photos and videos of captive red wolves – contact Maggie Howell, (914) 763-2373,

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