26 June 2015
We recently learned that last week, a private landowner shot and killed a six-year old female wolf – one of very few breeding females left in the wild. To make matters worse, it’s likely that the wolf had puppies at the time of her death. The fate of those pups is unknown, but our wolf experts are not optimistic they’ll be able to survive without her.
But the worst part of this incident: The wolf was shot with the express permission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). In bureaucrat speak, these kinds of killings are called “lethal control.” It’s a measure that’s only supposed to happen under extreme circumstances, and only after non-harmful efforts are exhausted. But in this situation, there is no indication that any extreme circumstances existed, or that any non-lethal efforts were attempted to remove the wolf from the shooter’s property.
For decades, FWS has stumbled in its legally-mandated efforts to foster the recovery of these beautiful and secretive animals. Red wolves once roamed from Pennsylvania to Florida. Today, fewer than 100 animals survive in the wild in a small part of eastern North Carolina. The loss of a breeding female is a major blow to the species’ recovery.
News of this unconscionable shooting comes as the state of North Carolina is turning up the pressure to put an end to red wolf recovery efforts altogether. FWS’s actions represent a grave step in the wrong direction.
Speak Up: Tell FWS to end all lethal control of red wolves in North Carolina!
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