Is USFWS Walking Away From Recovery Efforts for the Red Wolf?
Every spring, red wolf field biologists in North Carolina listen for the whines and peeps of wild red wolf pups. Once dens are located, each pup is counted and blood samples are collected before the pup is carefully returned. Biologists use their findings to determine which dens will serve as the foster home for captive born red wolf pups. Although captive-to-wild pup fostering has been a successful way to allow genetically valuable captive-born red wolf pups to become integrated into the wild population since 2002, none of the Wolf Conservation Center pups were given this wild opportunity.
Because the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission adopted resolutions calling for the end of the red wolf reintroduction project in the state and USFWS’ response is inaction.
Yesterday the Service announced that it will halt all reintroductions while the agency further reviews the recovery program. Why the big press release to tell us what we already know? Wolves have not been introduced to the NC recovery area in over a year. Also remaining on “hold” is a key management activity—the release of sterilized coyotes to prevent hybridization. So while we wait for USFWS to review the program, measures critical to the success of red wolf recovery have been put on hold.
The Southeast regional director for USFWS recently acknowledged that.“There will likely be some who will suggest we are walking away from recovery efforts for the red wolf.”
What say you?