Kudos to North Carolina and Her Wolves that Never Were

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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


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