For Immediate Release, April 25, 2016
Contact: Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121, Bhartl@biologicaldiversity.org
Reward for Information on Red Wolf Killing Comes Six Months Too Late
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Failed to Offer Any Reward for Information on
Seven Other Red Wolves Killed in 2015
“Offering a reward six months after the crime occurred confirms that the federal government has turned its back on these critically endangered animals,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “By waiting until the trail has gone cold to take action, the Service is pandering to special interests opposed to wolves instead of doing its job to protect one the nation’s most-imperiled species.”
With as few as 45 wolves remaining in the wild, the red wolf is now one of the world’s most endangered carnivores. The species was declared endangered in 1973, and, in a final attempt to save it, 17 wild red wolves were captured for captive breeding.
Wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid 1980s, and the population slowly grew to more than 130 wolves by 2012. But in 2014 the Service decided to curtail all aspects of the recovery program, in violation of the Endangered Species Act, including removing law-enforcement efforts to protect the species. Earlier this month the Center filed a lawsuit demanding that the Service release documents on its decision to abandon wolf recovery.
“The Service needs to get biologists back on the ground doing recovery work, it needs to restart reintroductions of wolves from captivity back into the wild, and it needs to get law-enforcement officers out there to protect the remaining wolves,” said Hartl.
The red wolf reintroduction program was once considered one of the world’s most innovative programs to restore a critically endangered carnivore. A 2014 report from the independent Wildlife Management Institute concluded that if the red wolf was going to recover, two additional populations would need to be established, with additional resources needed to build local stakeholder support for the red wolf recovery program.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.