Washington, DC—The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), in collaboration with Defenders of Wildlife (Defenders), the Red Wolf Coalition (RWC), WildEarth Guardians, Born Free USA, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, issued a written appeal to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) asking the department to oppose the recently adopted resolutions by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) that call for the termination of the Red Wolf Recovery program and demand the removal of red wolves from private lands.
In light of next Tuesday’s NCWRC public hearing, which will discuss proposed rules that would allow daytime hunting of coyotes in the five-county area where red wolves have been reintroduced, the appeal is intended to present to USFWS the flawed arguments behind NCWRC’s resolutions.
“The NCWRC is calling for the extinction of an endangered species in the wild for no valid reason whatsoever,” said Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney at AWI. “Termination of this program would set a dangerous precedent under the Endangered Species Act, allowing the recovery of endangered species to be abandoned in order to satisfy the narrow self-interest of a few individuals in a given state.”
The letter explains that the NCWRC, by requesting that the federal government terminate the program, is calling for the extinction of an endangered species, acting on unsubstantiated claims of impact by landowners, and defending previously debunked assertions about coyote-red wolf hybridization.
AWI, Defenders, and the RWC previously reached a settlement agreement with NCWRC in November 2014 to promote red wolf conservation. However, the NCWRC’s resolutions are specifically tailored to undercut this agreement. The organizations are advocating for the continuation of the Red Wolf Recovery program, which has been highly successful in reintroducing and maintaining the world’s only wild population of the critically endangered red wolf.
The full text of the appeal letter can be viewed here: http://awionline.org/sites/default/files/press-release/WL-AWI-RedWolf-ResponsetoResolutions-02242015.pdf.
AWI and the other wildlife groups encourage North Carolina residents to attend NCWRC's public hearing on the coyote-hunting proposal. The 7 p.m. hearing will take place on Tuesday, March 3, at 1751 Varsity Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606.
For more information on AWI's efforts to protect the red wolf population in North Carolina, visit http://awionline.org/cases/protection-red-wolves.
Amey Owen, 202-446-2128, firstname.lastname@example.org