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NY: Deadline nears to take wolves off endangered list

Environmentalists worry the animals wouldn’t be protected if they ever move to Adirondacks

By staff , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Tuesday is the final day to comment on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove the gray wolf from the list of threatened and endangered species.

The proposal comes after successful recovery of gray wolves in the western Great Lakes states and northern Rocky Mountains under local, state and federal management.

There are no gray wolves known to be living in the Adirondacks, but some people believe they could move here naturally. Some gray wolves have been known to move east.

Listed species are eligible to receive special federal protection from hunting, trapping and habitat loss.

“While gray wolf populations have rebounded well in certain areas of the western mountain ranges over the past few decades, it still remains missing throughout much of its historic range, including the Adirondacks,” Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council environmental group, said in a press release. “It would be premature to remove the federal protections that have allowed wolf populations to successfully rebound in some parts of their historic range, and deny them the chance in other areas. Our policies should be wolf friendly.

“Any wolves that naturally migrate into the region would be susceptible to inappropriate hunting and trapping regulations, making it highly unlikely that a viable population would ever get re-established.”

The USFWS claims that the gray wolf’s population has been restored to its historic range and no longer needs federal protection to prevent extinction, but Janeway said decades of the USFWS’s own research has always identified the Northeast as part of the gray wolf’s historic range.

According to the USFWS, a “comprehensive review determined that the current listing for gray wolf, which was developed 35 years ago, erroneously included large geographical areas outside the species’ historical range.”