Thursday, September 10, 2015

Northeast Wolf Coalition: Our Vision For Wolf Recovery


“Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free.” ~Aldo Leopold, Foreword to a Sand County Almanac (1949)

With those words, conservationist Aldo Leopold began a serious dialog about the state of wild lands and wildlife on the American landscape. For those of us who live in the Northeast, this conversation has never been more critical. For more than a century, the northeastern United States has been regaining its wildness. Where forests had been largely cleared in 19th century, the woods have returned. Where wildlife such as moose, bear, beaver—even deer—had been eliminated, these animals have rebounded. While this is cause for hope, this remarkable recovery seems incomplete. 

The decline of large predators and other apex consumers at the top of the food chain has disrupted ecosystems all over our continent, and it is arguably humankind's most pervasive influence on the natural world. For our region, the wolf is the missing component of our regional ecology and one of the top predators that once called the Northeast its home.

Recognizing the need to explore the need for this apex predator and the potential for its recovery in the Northeast USA, the Northeast Wolf Coalition was established in March, 2014 as an alliance of conservation organizations in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut and beyond. The Coalition’s work is guided by some of our nation’s best and brightest conservation scientists to ensure the foundation of its work is based on the application of the best available and most current scientific principles. The Coalition believes the return of the wolf will reflect a more fully functional and wild Northeast, with wolves fulfilling dynamic and evolving ecological functions in the changing environments that comprise our region.

As conservationists in the 21st century, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, the need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and its potentially positive impact to the natural biological diversity of the Northeast has never been more important.

The Northeast Wolf Coalition envisions ecologically effective wolf populations in healthy, diverse ecosystems managed as a public trust across North America. To achieve that vision, wildlife conservationists must be equipped with a foundation of knowledge and the necessary tools to proceed with due diligence to promote wolf recovery in the region.

Thus, it is the a priority of the Northeast Wolf Coalition to, first and foremost, encourage effective trans-boundary cooperative relationships with federal, state, and provincial agencies, organizations, and the general public so that we can collaboratively explore and design the best policies and practices that will encourage the wolf's natural return to the region.

To learn more about the Northeast Wolf Coalition, visit http://www.northeastwolf.org/

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