USFWS Proposed Reductions to Protected Range Would Dramatically Cut Habitat for Species Recovery Effort
Washington, DC – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed reduction to the protected range of the endangered red wolf on Monday. The changes would dramatically cut habitat for a species recovery effort that’s already seen the North Carolina red wolf population fall from more than 100 to as few as 45 individuals.
Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today: “Recovering the endangered red wolf is complicated, but that’s not a reason for the Service to throw up their hands and give up. The proposal to shrink the red wolves’ habitat range and remove those remaining from the wild simply defies logic, especially at a time when their primary protected habitat, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, is increasingly inundated with water, forcing the wolves to leave the Refuge in search for more suitable habitat. The only viable solution is to work with willing private landowners to provide needed habitat and reduce threats from coyotes, which are often cross-breading. If Congress is unwilling to provide the resources necessary to conserve the red wolf, the National Wildlife Federation, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, and other partners stand ready to work with the Service to implement common-sense solutions that will recover their populations.”
Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, said today: “We’re concerned that the parameters set forth by the USFWS have pigeonholed this species in an unrealistic manner for which to survive in the wild. Wildlife do not recognize boundaries and will certainly range in and out of the much smaller in scope federal lands identified in the recommendations. We feel the USFWS has not readily heeded the challenge the wolves present with regards to private lands adjacent to the federal lands. We’ll continue to support red wolves and those charged with its survival so this apex predator can remain viable in the wild – as challenging as that may be now due to this recent proposal.”
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