pending legislation

H.R. 6119 - To remove the red wolf from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife for North Carolina and for other purposes, 6/14/18 (Rep. David Rouzer, R-NC)

This bill was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee (NRC). The American red wolf population in North Carolina has dwindled from around 120 individuals in 2012 down to an estimated 30 today, largely due to political opposition from a small, vocal minority of North Carolina residents. Endangered species decisions should be science-based, not political. Please contact the House NRC and tell them to kill this bill here: https://naturalresources.house.gov/contact/

Agency actions

USFWS Proposed Rule for the Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina, issued 6/28/18, comments due by 7/30/18

The current Red Wolf Recovery Area consists of a patchwork of federal and privately-owned land on 5 counties in Northeastern North Carolina, for a total of approximately 1.7 million acres of habitat for red wolves. There are only an estimated 30 red wolves in the wild and red wolves are one of the most endangered animals on the planet. This proposed rule would reduce the Red Wolf Recovery Area to only federal land at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the Dare County Bombing Range, and to maintain only one or two packs consisting of 15 or fewer wolves. The full text of the proposed rule and instructions on public comment is available on the Federal Register for Dkt. No. FWS-R4-ES-2018-0035 here. Please join the American Wolf Foundation in pledging support for the recovery of the American red wolf!

For more background, the American red wolf was first reintroduced to North Carolina nearly 30 years ago, and the reintroduction was so successful that it was used as a model for other predator reintroductions. Unfortunately, the population in North Carolina has dwindled from around 120 individuals in 2012 down to an estimated 30 today, largely due to political opposition from a small, vocal minority of North Carolina residents. One of the opponents' primary arguments against the red wolf is that the red wolf has "devastated" deer and other wildlife populations. This is not true, as discussed in this 2015 article, this 2017 article, and demonstrated in more recent scientific study by the Wildlands Network, as shown in these graphs (publication pending). 

Opponents also complain that they cannot freely kill nuisance coyotes, whose population is growing. Coyote hunting in the Recovery Area is restricted because red wolves, smaller in size than grey wolves, are often mistaken for coyotes. Relatedly, opponents argue that the red wolf is not a wolf at all, but a "coywolf," a recent wolf-coyote hybrid, citing a 2016 vonHoldt study, which was both inconsistent with past analyses and promptly rejected by a team of scientists in a 2017 analysis summarized here. A recent 2018 study concluded that, regardless the precise taxonomic status of the red wolf, it is "listable" within the meaning of the Endangered Species Act. Although red wolves, like other American wolves, may hybridize with coyotes when their populations are sparse, they prefer not to, and when their population is robust enough, red wolves kill and displace coyotes, which are not native to the Southeast. Numerous studies show a robust wolf population is the best coyote deterrent.

Please join us and tell USFWS that it should not flush decades of work and millions of taxpayer dollars under political pressure from a tiny minority of North Carolinians. Please comment here by July 30, 2018.