Friday, July 17, 2015

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in New York



 For Immediate Release, July 17, 2015
Contact: Maggie Howell, (914) 763 2372, coordinator@northeastwolf.org

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in NY


NEW YORK: Under the auspices of Teaming with Wildlife, every 10 years all states update their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) for species of greatest conservation need (SGCN). These updates ensure that each state will receive critical federal funding to support species recovery.

The Northeast Wolf Coalition has called upon New York's  Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering the Eastern wolf (canis lycaon) and gray wolf (canis lupus) as additions to NY’s SGCN.

TAKE ACTION
If you're a resident of NY, please tell the NYDEC that our state's Wildlife Action Plan should include wolves as it did in its 2005 plan.

Our state has viable habitat for the natural re-establishment of these creatures and they are critical to the restoration of NY's ecological integrity. Today is the last day NYDEC is accepting comments. The WCC's action alert makes it easy. ACT NOW


To: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
From: Northeast Wolf Coalition
Date: July 17, 2015
Re: Draft 2015 New York State Wildlife Action Plan




The Northeast Wolf Coalition (NEWC) respectfully submits these comments concerning the revisions by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to New York’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).

In NY’s 2005 SWAP wolves and other extirpated species were among those included on the SGCN list. The NYDEC itself acknowledged the need to recognize the wolf listing as a SGCN in its 2005 Strategy for Conserving New York’s Fish and Wildlife Resources:

“The gray wolf, Canada lynx, and Eastern cougar are species historically present in New York but extirpated because of unregulated harvest and habitat change. Current habitat conditions in New York may support the occurrence of gray wolf and cougar, but the social acceptability of doing so must be assessed first. Their listing as SGCN will facilitate that evaluation. Canada lynx may eventually expand to parts of New York from Canada or adjoining states, and if documented, they will need careful monitoring and management. The Algonquin population of gray wolves presently ranges 50 miles north of New York’s border with Canada. Biologists have already documented the movement of large mammals like moose across this divide in recent years (A. Hicks, personal communication, September 23, 2005).” (Page 55)

We request the NYDEC to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering Canis lupus and Canis lycaon as additions to NY’s SGCN. Such an update would allow NY to receive critical federal funding to explore the potential for species recovery and equip the state with the tools and resources to proceed with due diligence.

Recent peer reviewed scientific evidence has concluded that the decline of large predators has disrupted ecosystems all over our continent, and it is arguably humankind's most pervasive influence on the natural world.  For NY, the wolf was one of the top predators that once called the Northeast its home and is presently the missing component of our regional ecology.

It is important to note that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the end of April to re-assess the at-risk status of several species, including the eastern wolf. “New genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Gray Wolf.  In May 2015, a new wildlife species, Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was designated Threatened.” (COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2015) As a reminder, in its 2005 SGCN, the NYDEC acknowledged the Algonquin population of gray wolves as presently ranging just 50 miles north of NY’s border with Canada. It’s our assertion that we bear a responsibility as fellow conservationists to acknowledge the scientific conclusions made by COSEWIC and begin to appropriately prepare for the potential natural recovery of the Eastern wolf into NY and the rest of the northeastern U.S.A.

As conservationists, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, we need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and consider its potential for positively impacting the natural biological diversity of the Northeast. Thank you for the opportunity to present these comments. We look forward to future discussions with your agency regarding these concerns.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members and supporters of the Northeast Wolf Coalition, 

Maggie Howell,
Coordinator Northeast Wolf Coalition

About The Northeast Wolf Coalition The Northeast Wolf Coalition was formed in March 2014, in response to mounting evidence that wolves are returning to their former habitat in the Northeast. The NEWC is a broad-based coalition of environmental organizations, scientific mentors, and advisors from Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and other states. Member organizations include the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Wild, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, American Ecological Research Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Cougar Rewilding Foundation, Earthjustice, Earthroots, Endangered Species Coalition, Maine Wolf Coalition, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Protect the Adirondacks, Red Wolf Coalition, RESTORE: The North Woods, Vermont Law School, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center. The NEWC collaborates on critical issues that relate to the recovery of wolves in the Northeast. Additional information and news about the NEWC can be found on the Coalition’s website at www.northeastwolf.org.

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