2010: Epic Bad Year for Red Wolf Recovery

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2010: Epic Bad Year for Red Wolf Recovery

Post by Akatala » Fri Mar 04, 2011 2:59 am

So far this year, four red wolves have died from unlawful gunshot wounds, and a few additional cases are under active investigation for apparent illegal take. On average, six to eight red wolves have died by gunshot annually in the past three years. The Fish and Wildlife Service biologists working to recover red wolves say 2010 is shaping up to be above average.

Red wolves are shot when hunters or gun-wielding people in the recovery area mistake them for their more common cousin, the coyote (Canis latrans), and then pull the trigger. (At least, the shooters claim they mistook them.) It’s legal to shoot coyotes anywhere and anytime in North Carolina, including the red wolf recovery range.

“We’re really not sure if some hunters are mistaking the red wolves for coyotes and shooting them, or if they are targeting red wolves,” says Ryan Nordsven, a biological technician with the recovery program. “In all likelihood, it may be a combination of both.”

There is only one spot on the whole globe today where wild red wolves live: a 1.7 million acre area on the Albemarle peninsula of North Carolina. There are 65 radio-collared red wolves here, plus 42 puppies were born this spring (39 of these pups are uncounted among the collared population). They are considered one of the most endangered canids on earth by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and they were among the very first batch of species to be listed under the Endangered Species Act when it was signed into law in 1973.

Red wolf biologists say the gunshot deaths spike during deer- and bear-hunting season, which doesn’t close until January 1, 2011. Art Beyer, a biologist with the program who coordinates the field team, says that bear season always seems to be worse because many hunters come from out of state, or other parts of the state, and may be unfamiliar with the wolves or their highly endangered status. A two-week bear hunting season runs from November 8-13 and December 13-25.

“Unfortunately, it’s often the breeders that we lose by gunshot,” Nordsven says. Gunshot losses make up about a third of the deaths of breeding red wolves; but since 2004 breeding individuals have composed about 80 to 85 percent of the wolves that are shot, says Red Wolf Recovery Program Coordinator David Rabon. Breeders are sexually mature males and females that lead a pack composed of offspring from previous years. Packs may number two to eight animals. The loss of a breeder can contribute to packs breaking up, and to coyotes infiltrating the red wolf recovery area if their home ranges become unstable.

Apparently it is still completely legal to shoot coyotes in the sanctuary, which doesn't make any sense to me. If you want to provide a sanctuary, then shooting any wild canine in the area should be restricted to specialists.

Anyway, original complete article can be found here: http://www.onearth.org/blog/red-wolf-de ... -officials

Detailed info on the Red Wolf and the conservation efforts for the species can be found here: http://www.redwolves.com
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Lt Falco
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Re: 2010: Epic Bad Year for Red Wolf Recovery

Post by Lt Falco » Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:12 am

This is such a shame, It is heard through-out all the animal world and not just wolves! People taking their homes unnecessarily. It is an even more of a shame for these supposed "hunters" to be able to mix up the coyote's with the wolves, If they knew what they where hunting properly and weren't just out for a "kick" off killing a wild animal there wouldn't be so many deaths.

Sad story!
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