Sunday, September 14, 2014

Residents of North Carolina Criticize Recovery Efforts to Protect Red Wolves

A captive red wolf at the Red Wolf Education and Health Care Facility in Columbia, North Carolina

It has recently been reported that red wolves in the state of North Carolina are becoming unpopular among the local people, who have severely criticized recovery efforts intended on saving the species by alleging that red wolves are not existing as pure species but coyote hybrids. In addition, other complaints ranged from wolves preying on domestic livestock and game animals, threatening pet cats and dogs, and that efforts to sterilize coyote hybrids have been unsuccessful. The criticism against North Carolina's remaining red wolves took place in the Mattamuskeet Early College High School cafeteria, where roughly hundred people comprised of landowners voiced their denouncements towards the recovery efforts. However, the forum was also attended by supporters of the red wolves. They included Janet Hoben of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition in Los Angeles, Jack Dafoe of the Southern Environmental Law Center, and Professor James Gilliam of North Carolina State University. Unlike the landowners, these people voiced their reactions concerning the plight of North Carolina's red wolves which currently number around 100 animals. For example, Ms. Hoben called the results of the state's recovery efforts as "hardly an experiment." In other words, the current population of red wolves is still critically low since 2013 even though the year saw seven litters produce 34 wolf pups. Professor Gilliam, on the other hand, proposed building a fence around the Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge to prevent the wolves from interbreeding with coyotes. As of now, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has planned to make a decision on the red wolf recovery program by next year.
A red wolf at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News

It is extremely outrageous to see that the people of North Carolina are treating the red wolf as if it is a subject of immense persecution like its relative the gray wolf. This magnificent species of wolf once ranged throughout the southeastern U.S, but disappeared throughout much of its historical range due to pressure from humans and is now limited strictly in North Carolina where recovery efforts have been carried out since the late 1980s to revive the species. However, in 2013, the numbers of red wolves in North Carolina suddenly dropped to fewer than 100 animals. There have been numerous complex issues that have led to this sudden downfall in red wolf numbers. Among them include interbreeding with coyotes and hunting by human hunters who mistake the red wolf for a coyote, which have been hindering the recovery efforts to prevent the species from becoming extinct. The people of North Carolina need to understand that the red wolf is part of their home state's natural heritage and if they demand to have the species completely eradicated from North Carolina, then it means they are asking to have part of the state destroyed from the face of the Earth. In order to prevent any further depletion in red wolf numbers, people must refrain from carrying out coyote hunts or hunting of any other animals in order to avoid any accidental shootings from happening. In addition, they must keep their pets inside their homes or at least in a yard with secure fencing to prevent any potential encounters between them and wolves. Furthermore, captive red wolves should always be reintroduced in protected areas such as wildlife refuges and nowhere else. These sanctuaries should also be heavily fortified such that no coyote can come in and no red wolf can come out. This would help in improvising the recovery efforts intended on reviving the red wolf population in North Carolina.

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