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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Southern Environmental Law Center has filed a suit against the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission regarding their ruling that allows Coyotes to be hunted with lights at night.............Endangered Red Wolves can be easily mistaken for Coyotes and the "spotlighting" rule does include the barrrier islands where the recovering 100 Red Wolf population resides...........The recovery program has the USFW folks sterilizing Coyotes that make their home in the Red Wolf recovery zone so as to prevent Red Wolf/Coyote hybriidization,,,,,,a common occurrence when Wolf populations are decimated due to human persecution---the very reason that the Red Wolves were on the brink of extermination,,,,,,,and now little by little taking baby steps toward a possible recovery

Groups Challenge N.C. Spotlighting of Coyotes near Endangered Red Wolves

   /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Accidental shootings resulting in death or injury are a primary concern outlined in a court challenge filed today against an illegal state rule that allows spotlight hunting of coyotes at night throughout North Carolina, including in the area inhabited by the only wild population of red wolves, one of the world's most endangered animals.

 The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed the court challenge against the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and a request to stop the rule in Wake County Superior Court on behalf of the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Defenders of Wildlife, and the Red Wolf Coalition (RWC).
"As currently written, this spotlighting rule sets the stage for a tragedy of mistaken identity," said Derb Carter, the senior attorney at the SELC who represents the groups in today's filing.

Red Wolf

After its proposed permanent spotlighting rule sparked concerns in public comment meetings and over 30 objection letters, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission adopted the permanent rule as a temporary spotlighting rule, effective August 1, 2012, without sufficient grounds for doing so—which violates state law.
"The process used for this spotlighting rule is inconsistent with state law requirements for adopting rules under North Carolina law," said Tara Zuardo, legal associate at AWI. "Not only did the commission flaunt established state law, they did so without regard to the serious impact on a critically endangered species."

Gunshot deaths are a significant threat to red wolf (Canis rufus) recovery. Once extinct in the wild, the red wolf was reintroduced in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. With only about 100 wild red wolves now living in five counties on the Albemarle Peninsula of eastern North Carolina, the wolves are frequently mistaken for coyotes even in daylight. Red wolves and coyotes are similar in appearance, coats, and coloring. Red wolf yearlings are similar in size and weight to coyotes.

"The risk of mistaken identity for red wolves only increases at night," said Jason Rylander, attorney at Defenders of Wildlife. "This spotlighting rule sets endangered red wolves up for a double whammy—increasing risk of accidental gunshot mortality and setting back successful coyote control efforts in red wolf territory."

To prevent wolves interbreeding with coyotes—another threat to the wolf population—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sterilizes coyotes that have territories within red wolf habitat. Shooting sterilized coyotes will undo effective coyote population control efforts and further jeopardize the native red wolf population.

"Because only one small population of wild red wolves exists, an increased loss of red wolves by gunshot could reduce their numbers to a point where they would not recover," said Kim Wheeler, executive director of the RWC. "At the same time, the loss of sterilized coyotes would make room for new unsterilized coyotes in the red wolf recovery area, raising the risk of inbreeding and resulting in the loss of the red wolf species."

SOURCE Animal Welfare Institute

Night hunting of coyotes to begin Aug. 1; red wolf advocates on edge

This young red wolf was born on St. Vincent Island, Fla., where the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service keeps a breeding pair. It was fitted with a radio collar in preparation for release to the wolf recovery area in North Carolina. Between 90 and 110 wolves live in five northeastern counties. RYAN NORDSVEN - U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Hunters will be allowed to shoot coyotes after dark starting Aug. 1 under a new state rule opposed by conservationists who say it will imperil the endangered red wolf.Red wolf conservationists not only oppose the night-hunting rule but question its speedy implementation.

The prospect of hunters bagging coyotes at night in North Carolina has drawn national attention because coyotes are easily mistaken for young red wolves, a federally listed endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has worked for 25 years to help red wolves gain a shaky foothold in the wild, and North Carolina is the only place where they roam free.

Somewhere between 90 and 110 wolves live in five northeastern counties.

Young red wolves are easily mistaken for coyotes even in the light of day. Fatal cases of mistaken identity are expected to rise when hunters go after coyotes in the dark.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service objected to night hunting for coyotes. More red wolves die from gunshots than from any other means, said David Rabon, recovery coordinator for the red wolf program. He called the red wolf “one of the most endangered mammals on the planet.”
The coyote has a smaller stature and more narrow skull and snout than the red wolf, but young red wolves are easily mistaken for coyotes even in the light of day. JANET KESSLER - COYOTEYIPPS.COM
A coyote problem
The national interest in protecting red wolves has collided with the state’s interest in killing coyotes. The issue even caught wind in the legislature a few years ago when the state House formed a Select Committee on Coyote Nuisance Removal. Getting rid of them is especially important to ranchers who are sick of raids on their herds and flocks.

“Often, they’ll take baby cows or lambs, eat the organs without killing the animals,” said Jonathan Cawley of the N.C. Predator Hunters Association. “It drives the ranchers crazy.”
The association formed about six years ago to hunt – at no cost to ranchers –the crafty coyotes they need help controlling, Cawley said. But he does not hunt where red wolves live, and said he doesn’t think any other association members would.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which proposed night hunting, crossed the state this year holding public hearings, gathering thousands of comments.
More than 2,610 people told the commission they wanted night hunting, while 1,251 were opposed.

A letter campaign
Opponents still had a chance to delay a permanent rule. If the Rules Review Commission receives at least 10 letters objecting to a rule, it puts the rule on hold until the next legislative session, giving lawmakers a chance to disapprove it.

The Red Wolf Coalition, a North Carolina advocacy group, helped organize more than enough formal opposition to at least delay a permanent night hunting rule. The Rules Review Commission received nearly 40 objection letters. But while the permanent rule was delayed, the Wildlife Resources Commission adopted an identical temporary rule on July 12. The Rules Review Commission approved it a week later.

“We were absolutely surprised,” said Cornelia Hutt, chairwoman of the Red Wolf Coalition’s board of directors. The group has always had a good relationship with the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Hutt said. The state may have adopted the temporary rule improperly, without the proper notice and public hearing, she said.

Gordon Myers, Wildlife Resources Commission executive director, said the commission heard a lot about coyotes preying on livestock at its public hearings. Night hunting “is really to provide private landowners an important tool to manage coyotes,” he said.

The commission acted under the law, he said, because all the notices and public hearings they held for the permanent rule count for the temporary rule, too.

The red wolf’s protectors have doubts.“This is distressing,” Hutt said. “We are exploring ways to challenge this.”

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