Kudos to North Carolina and Her Wolves that Never Were

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Jim Beers, retired Refuge Manager, Special Agent, & Wildlife Biologist U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Jim Beers, retired Refuge Manager, Special Agent, & Wildlife Biologist U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

As someone with a long involvement in US and European wolf debacles of the past three-plus decades, it is with admiration and a wry sense of amusement that I have followed the sordid history of federal red wolf impositions on the good people of North Carolina.  I admire what you are doing about “wolves” and I am deeply amused by your resurrection of the lost power of State governments as spelled out in the US Constitution.

Red (I call them GI for “government issue”) wolves released on Bull Island at Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina and then in North Carolina at various and sundry sites were always true hybrids composed largely of coyote; dog; and long gone, small SE US wolves’ genetic material.  That these GI or red “wolves” (actually hybrids) are and always were fully capable of reproducing viable offspring with not only coyotes but with every variety of dogs from deer hounds and Dobermans to pit bulls and basset hounds is something honest biologists recognize as the classic definition of a Species, that is a group of similar animals capable of producing viable offspring.  In other words, the bureaucratic manipulation of a federal law clearly intended to save “Species” such that something bureaucrats call a “red” wolf is given the unique identity of, say, a giraffe or a rhinoceros as a Species in order to execute a very severe federal authority capable of superseding State jurisdiction over wildlife in the State; the activities of rural residents in things from animal husbandry and hunting to animal control and the safety of all, especially children and the elderly; rural property owners like dog owners; and ultimately the economic activities of struggling rural communities: all this was and remains a scandalous abuse of government power and environmental oppression.  That any citizen could be imprisoned for a year and fined $100,000 for killing or attempting to kill such mongrels placed in his midst by a remote central government is a travesty once thought to be unimaginable in a Constitutional Republic or even a “majority rule Democracy.

To see a State Government and its’ Wildlife Authority (the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission) stand up to this federal bullying is heartening and a hopeful sign for other States, to say the least.  The Commission’s Resolutions to order the federal bureaucrats to remove the “wolves” that they have been illegally releasing on private property in North Carolina, plus their Statement recognizing and calling for a Declaration of Extinction due to the Hybridization of the “Red Wolf” Genome (i.e. a full set of chromosomes representing all the inheritable traits of a singular group of  organisms) are models to not only other US States hosting these GI wolves from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast to the Southwest ; they are a much needed encouragement to Europeans from Germany and Italy to Spain where wolves are spreading death and destruction due to the same sort of abuse of government power by the European Union government as Americans are suffering from Washington politicians and bureaucrats.  Increasingly these European wolves are being shown to be “hybrids” with dogs and just as in the US, what dogs are not being killed by wolves are bred by or breed with dog/wolves “in heat” creating the inevitable and increasingly complex hybridizations that will always be the hallmark of wolves living in settled landscapes.

In France alone, just last year, nearly 10,000 domestic animals were killed by wolves.  Throughout Europe; sheep flocks, shepherds, and self-sufficient rural families are, like their American rural cousins, enduring untold stress and disappearing much to the distress of their rural communities where they have contributed so much for untold generations and where grazing lands are beginning to revert to brush and fire fuel.  European men are being incarcerated for killing what appeared to be rogue dogs that, after lengthy and extensive laboratory by government’ experts, were declared to be wolves.  The same propaganda about wolves (“restore stream banks”, “don’t kill stock or game animals”, “belong”, “necessary”) and the same paradigm of a remote and all-powerful central government controlled by wealthy, urban factions is destroying much of rural Europe with GI wolves just as we see in the rural western States today and just like federal bureaucracies have long-intended for North Carolina and an ever-expanding ring of surrounding States.

So thank you North Carolina.  Your intestinal fortitude and your moxie are both a model and a ray of hope to far more than merely those ensnared by the “red” wolf spider web manufactured in Washington.  All of us with wolves or about to “receive” wolves from our Pacific Shores to where East meets West in Eastern Europe salute you and will begin watching your progress and learning how we can begin emulating you.

Jim Beers

30 January 2014

PS – See 2 References Below.

 

References (2)

#1 Resolution Requesting that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Declare the Red Wolf (Canis rufus)Extinct in the Wild and Terminate the Red Wolf Reintroduction Program in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties, North Carolina

Whereas. the purposes of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems· upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved [and]

to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species”; and

Whereas~ these species of fish, wildlife, and plants conserved under the ESA are to be of “esthetic”, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people”; and

Whereas, red wolves (Canis rufus) were listed as endangered in 1967 by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 resu1ting in initiation of intensive recovery efforts; and

Whereas. red wolves were believed by the USFWS to be extinct in the wild by 1980; and

Whereas. red wolves produced in captivity from 14 founders originating from 400 wild canids captured from 1973 through 1980 were first released onto the Albemarle Peninsula in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) in 1987; and

Whereas, USFWS designated red wolves on federal lands in the ARNWR and Dare County Bombing Range as a non~essential experimental population, expanding that designation to include Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in 1995, a cumulative total of 31 0,000 acres; and

Whereas, the red wolf recovery area, as currently designated, includes Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington counties; and

Whereas, a majority of the lands in those counties are held in private ownership; and

Whereas, the red wolf recovery program is predicated upon the USFWS’s stated goal in 1986, 1991, and 1.995 for establishing a self-sustaining population managed on federal1ands, and under 10(1) rules minimizing negative impacts of red wolves on private lands; and

Whereas, since initiation of the restoration project active management of habitats to benefit red wolves on federal lands bas been minimal, resulting in predominant use of private lands by wolves to meet to annual life requisites, a scenario inconsistent with stated USFWS goals; and

Whereas, climate change models indicate that much of the current recovery area wiIl ultimately be inundated by sea level rise; and Whereas,predominant use of private lands by red wolves continues to increasingly impact land-use options for these landowners, a scenario also inconsistent with USFWS goals and rules; and

Whereas, the USFWS has been unable to fult111 its obligations under federal rules to resolve these conflicts; and

Whereas, coyote distribution and density has continued to increase across the recovery area,

Resulting  in increased hybridization and introgression among red wolves and coyotes; and

Whereas, purity of the red wolf genome is questionable and has been debated since initiation of restoration efforts; and

Whereas, increases in coyote populations combined with coyote/red wolf hybridization and introgression has eliminated a taxonomically unique red wolf; and

Whereas, 011 October 14, 2014, the USFWS released A Comprehensive Review and Evaluation of the Red Wolf (Canis Rufus) Recovery Program (programmatic Review); and

Whereas. the Programmatic Review includes conclusions that the Alligator River, Pocosin, Mattamuskeet, and Swan Quarter National Wildlife Refuges and Dare County Bombing Range within the restoration area cannot be managed or restored in a manner that would provide sufficient habitat for the current population of red wolves; and

Now, therefore be it resolved, that because red wolf restoration.is no longer consistent with the goals of the ESA, and because current and future conditions make restoration and management of a self-sustaining population of red wolves on federal lands both taxonomically and operationally impossible, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission hereby requests that the USFWS:

•             declare in federal rules that the red wolf is extinct in the wild in North Carolina.,

•             terminate the Red Wolf Reintroduction Program for free-ranging red wolves in North Carolina,

•             repeal all federal rules describing, delineating, and designating conditions for red wolf restoration,

 

We designate all wild canids other than foxes on the Albemarle Peninsula as coyotes or coyote·hybrids~

•                     designate that no federal “trust canids” exist on the Albemarle Peninsula, and

•                     designate that all wild canids on the Albemarle Peninsula are state-trust resources under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

 

Approved, this the 29th day of January, 20154, in an official meeting by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Jim Cogdell, Chairman             Gordon Myers, Executive Director

2.

Resolution Requesting that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Remove Red Wolves Released Onto Private Lands in the Red Wolf Recovery Area Located in Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties, North Carolina

Whereas the federal Red Wolf Recovery Plan institutes the clear goal that the non-essential experimental population (NEP) of red wolves on the Albemarle Peninsula of North Carolina should be managed on “federal lands”; and

Whereas, as evidenced by .research, red wolves are more likely to inhabit agricultural fields than all other habitat types combined; and

Whereas,. agricultural fields are primarily found on privately owned lands; and

Whereas, the well documented persistence of red wolves on private lands is not in harmony with achieving the explicit goal set forth in the Red Wolf Recovery Plan that the red wolf NEP should be managed on ”federal lands”; and

Whereas, the USFWS also released an at least 64 captive-reared wolves on privately owned land; and

Whereas, this release of wolves on private lands could only inhibit the USFWS’ ability to meet its explicit that the red wolf NEP should bemanaged on “federal lands”; and

Whereas, this release of wolves on private lands was an unauthorized activity under federal rules;

Now, therefore be it resolved, that because the release of 64 wolves onto private lands is inconsistent with the explicit goal of the Red Wolf Recovery Plan that the red wolf NEP should be managed on “federal lands” and because that. release of wolves on private lands was an unauthorized activity underfederal rules, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission hereby requests that the USFWS immediately capture and remove those wolves, including any offspring arising solely therefrom.

Approved~ this the 29th day of January 2015. in an official meeting by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Jim Cogdell, Chairman         Gordon Myers. Executive Director