Sunday, July 27, 2014

Northeastern States Wolf Protection Status

Wolves roamed the Northeast into the last century, until they were eliminated by persistent anti-wolf campaigns and the decimation of timberlands. Successful forest regeneration in the past 100 years has created suitable wolf habitat again in the region, and scientists continue to study the possibility of the natural recolonization and restoration of wolves to the ecosystem. According to the 1999 Edition of the USFWS' Wolf Tracks:

"The Recovery Plan for the Eastern Timber Wolf identifies several areas in the Northeastern United States as potential sites for the restoration of the gray wolf. These areas include a portion of eastern Maine, northwestern Maine and an area of adjacent New Hampshire, and the Adirondack Forest Preserve Area of northern New York. All of these areas are within the Northern Forest Ecosystem, a 26 million-acre forested area that extends from the Adirondack Mountains of New York east through most of Maine. The area contains suitable gray wolf habitat and lies within the historic range of the gray wolf."

Status by State

If the gray wolf loses federal protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act,
its future depends on its status at the state level.  
 
Picture
New York State:
Presently the gray wolf is listed on New York State's Endangered Species List.
The state has no plan to address the wolf's potential return and no plan to promote its recovery. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service require states to revise their wildlife action plans at least every 10 years. New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation and conservation partners are working to update New York's Wildlife Action Plan by 2015.

New Hampshire
:
Presently the gray wolf is listed on New Hampshire's Endangered Species List. Although the gray wolf is mentioned in the state's Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, the state has no management plan to address the wolf's potential return nor a plan to promote its recovery. In 1999, the New Hampshire legislature passed a law (HB 240) that bans the reintroduction of wolves into the state. The law does not restrict a natural recolonization by wolves.

Picture Vermont:
Presently the gray wolf is not listed on Vermont's Endangered Species List. The species is presumed extinct/extirpated: not located despite intensive searches with little likelihood of rediscovery. Presently, the state has no protections in place for wolves, it has no plan to address the wolf's potential return, and it has no plan to promote its recovery. 

The list of Vermont's rare and uncommon animals is produced by the Vermont Natural Heritage Inventory, a unit of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The Vermont Natural Heritage Inventory is the state’s official repository for records of rare, threatened, and endangered species.
According to this document, the wolf is listed as a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" as identified in the Vermont Wildlife Action Plan. However, this designation does not denote legal protection.

Massachusetts:
Presently the gray wolf is not listed on
Massachusetts List of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern Species. Presently, the state has no protections in place for wolves, it has no plan to address the wolf's potential return, and it has no plan to promote its recovery.  The wolf is not listed as a "Species of Greatest Conservation Need" as identified in the Massachusetts Wildlife Action Plan.

Maine:
 
The gray wolf is not listed Maine's Endangered Species List. Presently, the state has no protections in place for wolves, it has no plan to address the wolf's potential return, and it has no plan to promote its recovery.  The wolf is  listed as a "Species of Special Concern" but is not listed on Maine's Wildlife Action PlanA species of special concern is any species of fish or wildlife that does not meet the criteria of an endangered or threatened species but is particularly vulnerable, and could easily become, an endangered, threatened, or extirpated species due to restricted distribution, low or declining numbers, specialized habitat needs or limits, or other factors. Special concern species are established by policy, not by regulation, and are used for planning and informational purposes; they do not have the legal weight of endangered and threatened species. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reviews the list of special concern species at the beginning of each calendar year. According to the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, "uncertainty about which subspecies of wolf occurred in Maine in the past, and whether wolf genes occur in Maine's coyote population are questions that must be considered before developing plans for wolf recovery."

Connecticut:

Presently the gray wolf is listed as a "Species of Special Concern" on Connecticut's Endangered, Threatened, and Species of Concern Species List, 2010. This designation, however, does not denote legal protection for the gray wolf in the state once the wolf loses its federal protection.   Presently, the state has no protections in place for wolves, it has no plan to address the wolf's potential return, and it has no plan to promote its recovery.  


All information courtesy of the Northeast Wolf Coalition; please visit them by clicking this link.