Petition Responds to Recent Moves by Obama Administration to
Abandon Red Wolf Recovery Program
ALBEMARLE PENINSULA, N.C.— Nearly 100 private landowners in North Carolina’s five-county red wolf recovery area signed a petition that was sent today to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Dan Ashe expressing their support for keeping endangered red wolves on their land.
The Service has identified local landowner support in the five-county area — Beaufort, Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde and Washington counties — as a key component in its consideration of whether to continue the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina. In the past two years, the Service eliminated the recovery coordinator for the program, stopped reintroducing red wolves into the recovery area until it completes a review of the program, stopped sterilizing and removing coyotes (which hybridize with red wolves), and issued permits to landowners to kill individual wolves.
“The Service has maintained that private landowner support is essential to continue the existing red wolf recovery program in North Carolina,” said Tara Zuardo, a wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “This petition shows that red wolves have that local support. The agency should consider this pertinent information in its evaluation of the program and work with private landowners on red wolf recovery in the state.”
Conservation groups say that the petition clearly demonstrates to the Service that in granting kill permits for the red wolves, it is failing to represent a vast number of local landowners who live near the wolves — opting instead to placate the complaints of the vocal minority who oppose the recovery program. In addition to more than 110,000 comments submitted to the Service from national supporters of the program in 2014, this petition presents another 1,538 North Carolina residents who support having red wolves on private land in the recovery area.
“This petition leaves no doubt that there’s ample local support for the red wolf recovery program,” said Jamie Pang, an endangered species campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This program has had tremendous success bringing these unique and beautiful wolves back from the brink of extinction, and it would be shameful for the Fish and Wildlife Service to abandon it.”
“With as few as 50 red wolves remaining in the wild, it is crucial for the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue its efforts to bring them back, not walk away well before the job of recovery is finished,” said Leda Huta, executive director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “The demonstrated local support in this petition shows that North Carolinians — both inside the recovery zone and around the state — support red wolf recovery.”
To learn more about red wolves, visit http://thetruthaboutredwolves.com/.