Federal wildlife officials who oversee the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves announced last week that they were scrapping a 2018 plan to limit animal range and loosen wolf protections that are becoming are far from this area.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement as part of an ongoing legal battle with conservation groups who claim the federal agency violated endangered species law by abandoning strategies that supported the wild population of wolves. Conservation groups welcomed the move, but said more needed to be done to bolster a wild population of just 10 wolves.
A press release from the Federal Wildlife Agency said it would follow previous rules that recognize an area of ââfive counties in eastern North Carolina as wolf habitat, the only place in the world where wolves wanders in the wild outside zoos or wildlife refuges.
In the statement, federal wildlife officials also asserted the agency’s power to release more wolves from captivity to bolster the wild population.
Federal wildlife officials said in the press release that they are also working to sterilize coyotes that compete with wolves for the territory.
Ron Sutherland, a Wildlands Network biologist who closely studies wolves, applauded Wednesday’s announcement but noted that the wolf situation remains dire with only 10 confirmed wolves in the wild.
“The species is on the slippery and crumbling edge of the literal edge of extinction, and it is so crucial that we now see positive conservation action from federal and state agencies to save Canis rufus,” a- he said in an email.
A lawyer from the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents conservation groups that have sued the federal government said the agency must step up efforts to increase the wild wolf population.
“We are delighted that the Fish and Wildlife Service is finally withdrawing its nefarious proposal to remove protections for wild red wolves and significantly reduce their protected area, but the question remains: will the agency commit to taking action? conservation measures proven to save the world’s rarest wildlife? wolves, including reintroductions? attorney Sierra Weaver said in an email.
Red wolves once occupied much of the eastern United States, but came close to extinction due to trapping, hunting and habitat loss before being reintroduced to North Carolina in 1987. Scientists at zoos and other sites have maintained a captive population of around 200 wolves in recent years. .