North Carolina Wildlife Officials Taking Aim at Red Wolf Recovery Program
The value and importance of conserving species and ensuring biodiversity is an accepted axiom of the 21st century. The importance of a keystone predator such as the red wolf to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. Although policies should be motivated by these basic scientific principles, this is not currently the case.
On January 29, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) approved two resolutions (here and here) aimed at abolishing the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina, home to the only wild population of red wolves in the world.
Red wolves are among the world’s most endangered species; with just a few hundred animals in existence (and about 100 in the wild), they are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “Critically Endangered.” Nowhere else on the planet are wild red wolf populations viable and secure. NCWRC’s resolutions specifically request that USFWS terminate the entire red wolf recovery program in North Carolina which would inevitably result in the loss of the last wild population of red wolves and render the species “Extinct in the Wild.”
There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust. The public trust is a legal concept that implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in America’s wildlife. Thus, decision-making and resulting wildlife policy should be developed based on sound science and carried out in a democratic manner responsive to the voice of ALL people.
Continued support of the Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina is vital to the long-term prospects of the species.