Monday, July 30, 2018

Federal Plan Poised to Allow Landowners to Kill Endangered Red Wolves

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Today is the last day to submit your comment!

On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it's proposal that could result with the extinction of the last wild red wolves. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

No species should face extinction at the hands of humanity, much less twice.

TAKE ACTION
Time is running out. Join the thousands of people speaking up for endangered red wolves before the 30-day public comment period ends on July 30, 2018. You can find additional information and talking points here.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

California's Lassen Pack Welcomes Pups

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California's only known existing wolf family, the Lassen Pack, has given birth to pups!

The five pups join their mother, father, and approximately three older siblings born in 2017, increasing the family's size to at least 10 wolves according to Kent Laudon and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Congratulations, Lassen Pack! May you continue to make history!

More via Plumas News.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Happiness for a wolf pup is getting belly rubs from Dad



Jack's (red wolf M1606) grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy. Plus someone has to keep those adorable and messy pups clean!

Beyond being cute (and messy), this critically endangered pup represent the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to protect and preserve critically endangered red wolves, the center is also active in physically safeguarding representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to its care.

The WCC is one of 43 facilities in the U.S. participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a breeding and management program whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Red wolves, native to the southeastern United States, were almost driven to extinction by intensive predator control programs and habitat loss.

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) captured the last wild red wolves (just 14 animals) and declared the species extinct in the wild.

In 1987, USFWS released the first captive red wolves in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a federal reintroduction program under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act.

Although the red wolf recovery program once served as a model for successful recovery of wolves, political barriers and consistent mismanagement by the USFWS have seriously threatened the continued existence of this highly imperiled species. In its most recent proposal announced last month, the agency recommends reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves. Moreover, USFWS proposes to allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

July 30, 2018, is the last day to submit comments on the federal proposal. You can find additional information and talking points here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Economic Value of Protecting Endangered Species

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The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines.

Today, the ESA remains the most important law in the United States for conserving biodiversity and arresting the extinction of species.

Is Endangered Species Act is endangered?

In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives, and riders designed to weaken the ESA have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Department of the Interior.

Criticism of the law stems mostly from oil and gas companies and agricultural interests who argue that the ESA’s provisions excessively limit economic interests and development.

So what are economic benefits of protecting endangered species?

To determine the value of saving species economists often look at benefits described as “ecosystem services.” Ecosystem services include all the functions performed by nature that provide benefits to humans - and their value to the U.S. economy is enormous.

A 2011 study prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-affiliated conservation group, tabulated the total value of ecosystem services at about $1.6 trillion annually in the U.S.

Basic services include climate regulation, waste treatment, water supply, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, habitat provision and many others that all help modulate and regulate climate, weather and various resources needed for human comfort, security and well-being. Saltwater wetlands, freshwater wetlands, temperate and tropical forests, grasslands, lakes, etc. all provide different levels of a myriad of environmental services.

"Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. like fruits, nuts and vegetables or birds that eat mosquitoes that would otherwise spread disease to humans." via Time Magazine



The study also looked at:
  1. The willingness-to-pay by residents and visitors to conserve various species,
  2. The revenue accrued by visits to natural areas,
  3. Property values that are impacted by proximity to protected and natural areas.

Beyond the economic value of species preservation, there's the value of being good stewards of our planet.


At a time when science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of climate change and human-caused Sixth Mass extinction, we should be finding ways to help imperiled species heal and flourish, not impose rules to effectively undermine the cornerstone of our nation’s conservation law.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Teeny Tiny Wolf Pup Gets a Bath



Happiness is getting some one-on-one time with Mom.

When Mexican gray wolf Rosa (F1143) licks and nibbles her tiny son (the adorable runt of her litter of nine), not only is she keeping her kiddo's fur clean and free of debris, her grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy that reaffirm the unique emotional bonds that shape the foundation of the family.

Are you falling in love with the teeny tiny two-month-old? He might be small in size, but the spirited fellow has a big personality -- and fan base!

At just around 5 pounds, the little lobo is half the size of most of his 8 siblings but is otherwise healthy and thriving. Follow his progress via live webcams.

This critically endangered Mexican gray wolf family represents the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction. The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.

Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 114 individuals – an increase of just one from 113 counted at the end of 2016.

For almost two decades, the WCC has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled predators through carefully managed breeding, research, and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for Mexican gray wolves and three wolves from the Center have been released to their ancestral homes in the wild.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

PUPDATE: The Red Wolf Pups are All Ears!

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At twelve weeks old, the red wolf pups are all ears!

Sure, big ears help you hear better, and they’re super cute, but as red wolves who are well adapted to the hot, humid climate of the southeastern United States know, big ears are also a great way of dissipating excess body heat.

The pups' adult hair is becoming more apparent and their eyes are gradually changing from blue to yellow-gold.

Learn more about red wolves and what you can do to protect them.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Endangered Wolf Pups Snuggle With Mom



Your moment of critically endangered cuteness.

The teeny tiny 10-week-old Mexican gray wolf pups are smaller than the rest, but the snuggly siblings might be Mom's favorites.

At just around 5 pounds, the brother and sister are half the size of most of their 7 other siblings but are otherwise healthy and thriving.

Follow the pups' progress via live webcams here.

These critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.

The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.

Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 114 individuals – an increase of just one from 113 counted at the end of 2016.

For almost two decades, the WCC has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled predators through carefully managed breeding, research, and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for Mexican gray wolves and three wolves from the Center have been released to their ancestral homes in the wild.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Red Wolf Webinar With Joseph Hinton, Ph.D



Conservation of carnivore populations is fraught with political, social, and ecological problems. This is particularly true for red wolf recovery, in which red wolf survival and hybridization with coyotes are difficult to tackle because they are sensitive to anthropogenic factors, specifically the effects of human-caused mortality.

In an effort to broaden awareness and understanding for the red wolf recovery effort in North Carolina and the implications of USFWS’s proposed rule, the WCC is extended a free webinar with Joseph Hinton, Ph.D.

We hope this educational opportunity inspires participation during USFWS’s public comment period (the comment period ends July 30).

To learn more about USFWS's draft rule and how you can submit a comment here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Study Finds Endangered Species Act Supported by Most Americans

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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines.

Today, the ESA remains the most important law in the United States for conserving biodiversity and arresting the extinction of species.

Despite its importance, criticism of the law persists - often coming from business and agricultural interests who argue that the ESA’s provisions excessively limit economic interests and development.

To determine the level of American support for the ESA, trust in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and attitudes toward gray wolves, Jeremy T. Bruskotter, and his team addressed the following questions in his study published July 19, 2018, in Conservation Letters.
  • To what extent do Americans support or oppose the ESA?
  • Has support for the ESA changed over time?
  • To what extent is opposition to the ESA associated with one's identification with various special interests?
  • Evaluated the idea that long‐term listing of controversial species increases opposition to the ESA, negatively affects trust in agencies charged with its implementation (i.e., FWS, NMFS), and creates resentment toward the species being protected.

The results reflect about four in five Americans support the act and only one in 10 oppose it. Moreover, Bruskotter found that protecting controversial species, including wolves “does not weaken support for protective legislation.”

"In contrast to the often-repeated statement that the Act is controversial, these data suggest that support for the law among the general population is robust and has remained so for at least two decades." Bruskotter stated in The Conversation

Despite the study's findings, the Department of the Interior unveiled a proposal Thursday that would strip the ESA of key provisions, a move that will weaken a law enacted 45 years ago to keep plants and animals in decline from going extinct.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Soulful Howl of Rare Mexican Gray Wolf


Beyond having an incredible voice, Mexican gray wolf Diego (aka M1059) represents the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.

The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.

Current estimates put the wild population at 114 in the United States.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rider Targeting Wolf Protections Passes House

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The House of Representatives passed legislation today to fund the Department of the Interior for 2019 that includes a rider that seeks to remove federal protections for gray wolves across the continental United States.

Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered in most of the lower-48 states. While the return of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes has been successful, the species still only occupies a small portion of its former range.

A national delisting for wolves would reverse the incredible progress that the Endangered Species Act has achieved for this species over the past few decades and once again put the gray wolf at risk of extirpation.


If this legislation passes, gray wolves will die at the hands of trophy hunters.

Stay tuned for updates and action.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fifty-one Wolves Howling


What's better than a howling wolf? Fifty-one howling wolves! Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2018

House Lawmakers Seek to Gut Endangered Species Act

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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines. Today, many politicians have forgotten the values Congress embraced four decades ago, and they now attempt to undermine one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.

The ESA has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance for over four decades and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A recent national poll found that the ESA is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite its success and public support, a group of House lawmakers introduced a package of nine bills to gut the Endangered Species Act.

The ambitious legislative package would accomplish numerous longstanding Republican goals for weakening the ESA, like making it easier for the government to remove species from the endangered or threatened lists and preventing organizations from suing to try to get species protected.






The package comes less than two weeks after Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced a comprehensive measure in that chamber to change the ESA.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wyoming Ups Wolf Kill Quota to a Record 58 in Trophy Zone

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission just approved upping the kill quota in its "trophy Zone" this year to 58 animals, a 32% increase over last year’s quota of 44 and a record high since the species was reintroduced 23 years ago.

The trophy hunt season runs October 1 - December 31.

In the other 85% of the state outside the trophy zone, hunting wolves is on 365 days a year. Wolves are classified as shoot-on-sight vermin. Guns, snares, explosives - almost any form of violence is allowed to kill these animals.

It's the 21st century. Is this what wildlife "management" should look like in our time?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Free Red Wolf Webinar with Joseph Hinton, PhD on July 18



In an effort to broaden awareness and understanding for the red wolf recovery effort in North Carolina and the implications of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule seeking to significantly change the size, scope, and management of the current red wolf recovery program in the state, the Wolf Conservation Center is extending a free webinar with Joseph Hinton, Ph.D. on Wednesday, July 18 at 6pm (EST).

Interested participants are encouraged to RSVP to info@nywolf.org.

An email with further details about participating will be posted by Monday, July 16.

The WCC hopes this educational opportunity inspires public participation during USFWS’s public comment period on the proposed rule - the comment period ends July 30.


BACKGROUND

On June 28, the USFWS announced a proposal that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow people to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue and that only the residents of North Carolina are impacted by the results of this recovery effort. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. This is not an isolated issue for North Carolina. By succumbing to political pressure, the USFWS is allowing a small group of vocal landowners to dictate endangered species policy instead of adhering to proven scientific principles and practices.

You can read more about the proposal—including the options that the USFWS considered but did not choose—in the Draft Environmental Assessment.

Submit Public Comment

Suggested talking points (please personalize your message, if possible) found HERE.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Take Action For World's Last Wild Red Wolves



On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a proposal that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow people to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue and that only the residents of North Carolina are impacted by the results of this recovery effort. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. This is not an isolated issue for North Carolina. By succumbing to political pressure, the USFWS is allowing a small group of vocal landowners to dictate endangered species policy instead of adhering to proven scientific principles and practices.

You can read more about the proposal—including the options that the USFWS considered but did not choose—in the Draft Environmental Assessment.

What You Can Do

Please attend the one public hearing the agency is holding and speak on behalf of the wolves:

Date: July 10, 2018
Time: Public information session: 5:30-6:30 pm/Public hearing: 7-9 pm
Location: Roanoke Festival Park, One Festival Park, Manteo, NC 27954

Submit Public Comment

Suggested Talking Points (Please personalize your message, if possible) Found HERE.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Federal Action Could Push Last Wild Red Wolves to Extinction

Save the only wild red wolf population by limiting their numbers to just 15 in the wild?

That's exactly what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is suggesting under their new proposal.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its "Proposed Replacement of the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina, a scientifically unsound plan that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.

A small group of no more than 15 red wolves would be maintained in the North Carolina management area. Any wolves that wander outside of this zone would not be protected and could be legally hunted.

"It hurts to think that 20 out of the 35 wolves we have left in the wild on planet Earth are going to be fair game for anybody to shoot," said Ron Sutherland of Wildlands Network.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day

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We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. ~William Faulkner

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Please Be Mindful of Wildlife on Independence Day





Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact on wildlife. Please be mindful. Here are some tips for watching out for wildlife!

TIPS FOR WATCHING OUT FOR WILDLIFE from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. This post originally appeared in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Open Spaces blog

Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. Barbecues, beaches, parades, and fireworks can be great ways to celebrate our country’s tremendous journey since the Continental Congress made that declaration July 4, 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident... “ But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact to wildlife. Here are a few ways you can help mitigate the harm to wildlife and their habitats while you celebrate the Fourth of July.

Be alert: The shock of fireworks can cause wildlife and pets to flee, ending up in unexpected areas or roadways, flying into buildings and other obstacles, and even abandoning nests, leaving young vulnerable to predators. If you’re out driving, please be on the lookout for animals.

Help prevent fires: The threat to wildlife doesn’t stop at startling lights and sounds, fireworks also have the potential to start wildfires, directly affecting wildlife and destroying essential habitat.

Keep it clean: Litter from firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other explosives can be choking hazards for wildlife and may even be toxic if ingested.

If you’re on the beach, watch out for nesting birds: Fireworks are very disruptive to piping plovers as well as many other nesting birds so be on the lookout for signs. We can work together to protect nesting shorebirds.

Cut back on using plastic or disposable utensils: During holiday celebrations we tend to break out the plastic utensils, plates, and cups. Avoiding plasticware can easily reduce the amount of waste we create and inevitably help wildlife and their habitat, especially given the growing concern of plastic waste.

Properly dispose of fishing gear: Anglers can reduce the injuries or deaths to wildlife simply by properly discarding fishing line and hooks. Retrieve broken lines, lures, and hooks and deposit them in trash containers or take them with you.

Follow laws and use caution: Federal law requires professional shows to be at least three-quarters of a mile from protected habitat. As you celebrate, choose fireworks shows that keep a respectable distance from wildlife habitat. If you plan to set off your own fireworks, make sure it is legal, use caution and you pick up any resulting debris. Stay away from wildlife habitat and avoid dry areas. Keep in mind that fireworks can’t be brought onto federal lands. Violations can come with stiff penalties, including fines costing thousands of dollars to jail time. Law enforcement officers are on the lookout for possession of illegal fireworks and use of fireworks in prohibited areas.

Alternatives to Fireworks: If you are looking to celebrate without using fireworks, there are a number of alternatives. Here are a few ideas, but we’d love to hear other ideas.

  • Laser light shows
  • Gathering around a firepit
  • Participate in a parade or block party
  • Bubbles (for kids afraid of loud noises)
  • Glowsticks
  • Noisemakers and more

Stay safe this Fourth of July and thanks for keeping wildlife in mind as you celebrate!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Overhaul of Endangered Species Act?

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Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming has announced draft legislation that would give new powers and responsibilities for state officials to determine how animals and plants should be protected, essentially overhauling the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The new bill represents the most significant threat in years to the 44-year-old law, which has been credited with rescuing 99% of listed species from extinction, including the bald eagle, gray wolf and grizzly bear.

With this success rate, should the ESA be subjected to repeated legislative attacks? What say you?

More via The Hill.