Thursday, June 9, 2011

Management and Status of the Eastern Wolf


Last night, representatives from several wildlife advocacy groups, governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties met with Fish and Wildlife Biologists in Augusta, Maine to discuss the status of the Eastern wolf  and how any potential wolves in that state should be managed.  This meeting was called in response to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) proposal to remove federal protections from wolves in the Western Great Lake States of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin - a move that could impact wolves in Maine and 28 other states too. 

Although USFWS reports that there is no evidence of wolf breeding pairs anywhere in the Northeast, there have been a handful confirmed wolf sightings in that neck of the woods, two documented cases in Maine alone.  So we know the corridor exists, the question is: What will the status of this animal be when they get across the border and in to the US?  Can they be protected like other gray wolf populations until they're reestablished?  This question leads to a deeper one, is the Eastern wolf a gray wolf at all?

Some researchers have presented clues that Canis lupus lycaon, the eastern timber wolf, may be a distinct species, Canis lycaon.    If Canis lycaon is accepted as a distinct species, what will it's status be under the Endangered Species Act?

Regardless of it's "name," many speakers at the meeting that the Eastern wolf deserves federal protection until the species is naturally re-established.  The USFWS hopes to announce results of the eastern wolf status review by the end of the year.

To read more about the meeting covered by Bangordailynews.com, please click here

For tips on how you can participate in this discussion, please visit WolfWatcher.org's page dedicated to this issue.

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