Red Wolf, ©USFWS/John and Karen Hollingsworth-Red Wolf-North Carolina

Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up

Critically Endangered Red Wolf Mother Killed

We recently learned that last week, a private landowner shot and killed a six-year old female wolf – one of very few breeding females left in the wild. To make matters worse, it’s likely that the wolf had puppies at the time of her death. The fate of those pups is unknown, but our wolf experts are not optimistic they’ll be able to survive without her.

But the worst part of this incident: The wolf was shot with the express permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In bureaucrat speak, these kinds of killings are called “lethal control.” It’s a measure that’s only supposed to happen under extreme circumstances, and only after non-harmful efforts are exhausted. But in this situation, there is no indication that any extreme circumstances existed, or that any non-lethal efforts were attempted to remove the wolf from the shooter’s property.

For decades, FWS has stumbled in its legally-mandated efforts to foster the recovery of these beautiful and secretive animals. Red wolves once roamed from Pennsylvania to Florida. Today, fewer than 100 animals survive in the wild in a small part of eastern North Carolina. The loss of a breeding female is a major blow to the species’ recovery.

News of this unconscionable shooting comes as the state of North Carolina is turning up the pressure to put an end to red wolf recovery efforts altogether. FWS’s actions represent a grave step in the wrong direction.

Speak Up: Tell FWS to end all lethal control of red wolves in North Carolina!

Double Jeopardy for Population of Alaska Wolves

rainforest wolf, ©B. Bartel/USFWSA rare population of Alaska wolves is declining dramatically according to science that shows a 60 percent population decrease since 2013. The Alexander Archipelago wolves are a genetically and geographically isolated sub-species of gray wolf, found only in the old growth temperate rainforests of southeastern Alaska and British Columbia. The most significant population of Archipelago wolves, inhabiting Prince of Wales Island, consisted of 221 individuals in 2013. But according to a new scientific report, the Prince of Wales Island population declined to a mere 89 wolves in 2014, and that number could be even lower now.

Biologists believe one reason for the wolves’ dramatic decline is the intense logging in the area, an activity which has removed much of the island’s old growth forest – habitat the wolves and their prey, Sitka black-tailed deer, rely upon. Despite this rapid decline, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has made zero effort to modify its planned hunting season in the area this fall. Although circumstances are dire, there is a silver lining. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has until December to determine if this rare, imperiled population of wolves warrants listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Protecting these wolves under the ESA would significantly improve management of the forested lands where they live, as well as create stronger standards for conserving this population. We’ll keep you updated in the weeks to come.

6 Responses to “Wolf Weekly Wrap-Up”

  1. Mary walker

    these people are cruel and ignorant..I protect wolves on my 160 acre of woods and I raise horses..no trouble with the wolves.

    • Sarah Dyson

      Thank you Mary for your devotion to these beautiful souls. People with livestock need the desire that you have. If not, there may be a day when there will not be any wolves. How very, very sad. They are my passion. HUGS TO ALL WHO CARE FROM TEXAS

  2. Sarah Dyson

    The death of this mother wolf is so heartbreaking. People that live in and make a living in the area where wolves may be need to acquire the knowledge of co-habituating with these beautiful animals. This is just another hole in my heart. HUGS TO ALL WHO CARE FROM TEXAS

  3. Patricia

    Everyone who commented should be angry that the US Fish and Wildlfe okays violent means of “controlling” wolves! This cruel and ignorant practice should be changed not next year, not in two years, but now. Wolves have been ignorantly and inhumanely hunted for 200+ years. Now some are facing extinction, such as the rare wolf in Alaska. And no one is doing a thing! Governor Palin is doing nothing!! Honestly, time is up! Or your grandchildren will only be able to see them online or in a zoo. Give me a break!! Give these poor, vulnerable creatures a break. Everyone is responsible. Give money to organizations. Do something!

  4. Patricia

    And the knowledge of how to control wild animal populations is out there because other animal populations are and have been controlled through birth control programs. The powers that be just choose not to use it because of their backward thinking and uncaring philosophy. That and probably it might hurt a political career. Enough!

  5. Christie

    I live in Alaska, and even though I’ve never once seen a real wolf, I adore them. I guess you can say I’m obsessed with them. I have no money and thus am not able to donate, but I wish I could do something to help! I’ll be spreading word on this and other wolf-related subjects as often as possible, but if anyone can think of any other way for me to help out this misunderstood canine species (which let me tell you, was here WAY before us humans began killing the planet), please let me know!

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