Red wolves endangered by rule designed to protect them - 7th wolf killed11/12/2012 17:48:29
Endangered by coyote hunt
There are around 110 Red wolves alive in the wild today. At least seven have been shot dead this year, and wildlife authorities blame a change of rules that allows shooting coyotes at night. And why are they hunting Coyotes? Apart from the usual shoot anything mentality, coyotes have been identified as a threat to Red wolves through interbreeding. However it seems unlikely that a suitable answer to this problem is to shoot the animals that they are meant to be protecting.
16 Red wolves have died in 2012
World's most endangered canid?
Extinct in the wild in 1970s
The first litter of red wolves born in captivity occurred in 1977. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in north eastern North Carolina.
Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7 million acres.
Statement from Red Wolf Recovery Program
Unfortunately, we experience an increased rate of mortality during the fall hunting seasons. The 4 wolves that have been killed as a result of suspected illegal means is not uncommon, at least in the numbers we have seen over the last 7 years. However, it is much higher than what we experienced during the first 17 years of our reintroduction program.I think a certain amount of persecution is occurring. However, it is difficult to quantify. People still carry their beliefs that top-level predators are dangerous and must be eliminated. Also, we have a situation where two closely related species (the red wolf and the coyote) occur in the same area. One is a critically endangered species (the red wolf), whereas the other is considered an pest species (the coyote).
This certainly leads to confusion when the current method for "controlling" the pest species is indiscriminate killing.We estimate the wild red wolf population at between 100 and 120 animals. About 70 of the wolves wear radio-telemetry collars. We also have about 40 coyotes that wear radio-telemetry collars and are managed by the Red Wolf Recovery Program.
Regarding the possibility of someone tracking the wolves from the signal on their collars, it is highly unlikely that this is occurring. It is more likely that there are more people in the woods during the fall hunting seasons and therefore more people encountering the wolves.
100 in the wild
Currently, red wolf population managers are using adaptive management strategies to reduce the threat of coyotes while building the wild red wolf population in north eastern North Carolina.
Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity.