Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Proposed hunting rule raising concern for red wolves

By: Sarah Pisciuneri

SALISBURY -- A proposed hunting rule is raising concerns in the wildlife preservation community.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is considering extending coyote hunting hours into the night.
It's concerning to those who are working to protect the endangered red wolf, a species that can easily be mistaken for a coyote.
"There is a concern they could be mistaken for coyotes," said Bob Pendergrass, the Nature Center Supervisor at Dan Nicholas Park.

He said the rule proposed by the commission, could pose a threat to the Red Wolf population. Less than 300 red wolves exist in the world.
"Every individual animal does count, and there are certainly going to be accidents," said Pendergrass.
The rule would allow coyotes to be hunted 24 hours a day, with the assistance of artificial light and without a permit.

"Every animal that can potentially grow up and breed and produce young to make this animal be an animal into the future is very important,” said Pendergrass.
About 120 wild red wolves live within a six-county recovery area in North Carolina, the only wild population of red wolves in the world. Meanwhile, coyotes are everywhere across the state.
At Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, three red wolves have been born and released.

"A coyote is a smaller animal it has a larger bushier tail, it has much smaller ears, it has short legs," said Pendergrass. "Red wolves are larger and have a greater fear of people."
Both Pendergrass and the commission agree that the best way to protect the species is through education. The public comment period for the proposal runs through April 16.

Submit your thoughts for public comment here. 

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