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Status Review Shows the Red Wolf Remains Endangered

posted May 23, 2018, 10:28 PM by chloe owens

4/24/2018, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Status review shows the red wolf remains endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a five-year status review and Special Status Assessment outlining the latest science and data supporting its recommendation for no change in the red wolf’s overall status as endangered under the Endangered SpeciesAct. The status review is required every five years and is based on the latest science and data included in a Species Status Assessment (SSA) that serves as the foundation for the recommendation. In addition, the Service expects to release an environmental assessment and a new proposed rule by late summer with alternatives for public comment covering future management of the non-essential, experimental population (NEP) of red wolves in eastern North Carolina. An NEP is one that is considered not essential for the continued existence of the species. The Service is also beginning work with an independent organization as directed by Congress to determine within one year if the red wolf represents a taxonomically valid species designation…Here are the steps the Service will begin implementing: First, the Service will move quickly to secure the captive population of red wolves, which we now know is not sustainable in its current configuration.Second, the Service will determine where potential new sites exist for additional experimental wild populations by October 2017…Third, the Service will propose to revise the existing experimental population rule to apply only to the Dare County Bombing Range and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where stable packs exist on federal lands. This proposed action will change the scope of and goals for the experimental population and is expected to be completed by December 2017. These proposed changes will go through appropriate environmental review and public comment. Finally, by October 2017 the Service working with others will complete a comprehensive Species Status Assessment and five-year status review for the red wolf…Currently, there are about 40 red wolves in the wild in eastern North Carolina in the NEP and more than 200 wolves in captive breeding facilities around the United States. The red wolf NEP in North Carolina peaked at about 120-130 wolves in 2006. It has declined steadily to about 40 today, and hybridization with coyotes remains a challenge…The best science now available to the Service shows the captive population is not secure for the foreseeable future. Under current conditions, with only 29 breeding pairs in captivity, the captive population is not large enough to sustain itself and will decline over time. The recovery teamidentified this as a priority. To secure the captive population, we must essentially double it to at least 400 wolves. Currently, there are slightly more than 200 in captivity. The number of breeding pairs must increase to a minimum of 52.