Comments Urgently Needed on Experimental Population Program Run Amok in N.C.

RedWolfA federal court in North Carolina recently halted coyote hunting in five counties in northeastern North Carolina because of concerns over the accidental shooting of reintroduced red wolves incidental to coyote hunting. Under pressure from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Committee, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now is seeking comments on the viability of its red wolf reintroduction program. SCI strongly encourages all its members to submit comments. Comments from members in North Carolina and other areas in which the Fish and Wildlife Service has reintroduced a species that is now interfering with recreational activities like hunting and trapping will be especially effective. Sportsmen and women must match the efforts of the pro-wolf, anti-hunting groups, who will be submitting comments in large numbers.

The deadline is Friday, September 12, 2014. According to the FWS website, “Interested individuals may submit comments, concerns, or information regarding the Eastern North Carolina non-essential, experimental red wolf population and the program evaluation to the following e-mail: redwolfreview@fws.gov.” For more information on the comment opportunity, please see http://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ID=21F9771B-D79B-0B5A-47D45DAAFEB3AC6C. For more information on the issue from the prospective of a landowner in the area who is knowledgeable about the program and the adverse on-the-ground impacts of the reintroduction, please see http://www.nchuntandfish.com/forums/showthread.php?95624-quot-Red-Wolf-quot-restoration-scandal.

The FWS should seriously consider ending this program, as it did for a similar red wolf reintroduction program in western North Carolina that also failed. The most effective comments will reflect your own words and any relevant experience you have with this issue. Talking points to consider include:

  • The red wolves are breeding with coyotes, which have moved into the area in large numbers, creating hybrids.
  • The program is very expensive (reportedly $28 million over its 25 year history). This money could have been better spent on other programs. The FWS has very little, if anything, to show for this investment of taxpayer money.
  • The FWS must continue to extensively and invasively manage this species (and other species like the coyote) in a likely vain attempt to keep the reintroduction afloat.
  • The likelihood of establishing a self-sustaining and recovered population is extremely low if not non-existent.
  • The existence of red wolves has led to the termination of coyote hunting, despite assurances from the FWS that the reintroduction would not interfere with recreational activities. The State and private landowners now have few options for controlling the growing coyote population. Native wildlife is suffering and will continue to suffer.
  • The reintroduction has interfered with personal property rights. Despite promises from the FWS to allow the animals only on public lands, red wolves (and the wolf-coyote hybrids) have expanded into and populated private lands throughout the five counties. The FWS has resisted requests from landowners to remove the red wolves from their property.
  • The online survey assumes many things that are not proven (g., red wolves have been “restored” to the five counties, there are any benefits to red wolf reintroduction).
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