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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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Monday, September 1, 2014

While it feels that the decision to end the Red Wolf restoration program in North Carolina has already been made by USFW(usually public commentary is just a smokescreen and decisions in D.C. have already been made), it is useful to learn about the most recent peer reviewed research in the August 2014 issue of THE JOURNAL OF MAMMALOGY that speaks about the distinct nature of the Red Wolf, different from both the western and eastern Coyote..............Joseph Hinton and Michael Chamberlain out of the University of Georgia state the following-----"AMONG THE THREE SYMPATRIC CANIS TAXA IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA, RED WOLVES ARE CLEARLY THE LARGER CANID WITH HYBRIDS INTERMEDIATE TO COYOTES AND RED WOLVES IN BODY SIZE"........."OUR RESULTS SUGGEST THAT RED WOLVES REPRESENT A UNIQUE CANIS PHENOTYPE IN THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES"......"HYBRIDS(ADMIX OF RED WOLVES AND COYOTES) ARE INCAPABLE OF REACHING BODY SIZES OF ADULT RED WOLVES"................"EFFECTS OF BODY SIZE, ON THE RELATIVE ABILITY OF RED WOLVES AND COYOTES SO SUCCESSIVELY HUNT PREY, ACQUIRE MATES AND DEFEND TERRITORIES ARE NOT WELL KNOWN"........So before we abandon the Red Wolf program, this study (MORPHOMETRICS OF CANIS TAXA IN EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA) DOES STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT THE FEDS STAY THE COURSE AND CONTINUE TO BUILD UP THE RED WOLF POPULATION TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL ECOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS HISTORICALLY CARRIED OUT BY RED WOLVES IN THE USA WILL CONTINUE TO BE FULFILLED JUST AS THEY CONTINUE TO BE FULFILLED BY EASTERN WOLVES(MANY FEEL THE SAME SPECIES AS RED WOLVES) IN ALGONQUIN PROVINCIAL PARK IN CANADA(those wolves are also surrounded by eastern coyotes yet continue to maintain species integrity inside that Park)

Feds seek input on

 maintaining red wolf


Associated PressAugust 29, 2014 

Federal wildlife officials asked the public Friday to
 weigh in as
 the government reviews whether to continue
 maintaining the
 world's only wild population of the red wolf in eastern
North Carolina.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it
had awarded
 a contract to the Virginia-based nonprofit Wildlife
 Institute to evaluate its 27-year experiment to
restore the
 endangered species to the wild.

Read more here:

"Once we receive the final evaluation, we will review it and make a decision to continue, modify, or terminate the red wolf recovery program," said Leopoldo Miranda, an assistant regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service

Asked about what terminating the program would entail, Miranda said during a conference call that no decisions have been made. When a program to restore the wolves to the Smoky Mountains in the western part of the state ended in 1998, the agency tried to capture all of the animals and bring them back to captivity, he said.
Sierra Weaver, a lawyer with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said the public should be given longer than two weeks to comment, especially considering the announcement came at the start of a holiday weekend. She also said that the federal agency failed to put a notice of the review in the Federal Register as required.
"The agency has failed to comply with the process outlined in the Endangered Species Act for this type of review and we are concerned it is not taking seriously its responsibilities to save the red wolf from extinction," she said.
A spokesman for the federal agency didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Weaver's criticism Friday afternoon.
In May, the Southern Environmental Law Center helped convince a federal judge to block the hunting of coyotes near the red wolf habitat. They argued that the animals look similar and are easily confused, leading to the wolves being shot.
The judge issued a ban on hunting until a trial takes place on a lawsuit by the environmental group seeking to permanently end coyote hunting in several eastern North Carolina counties. The lawsuit is pending.

In all, eight of the wolves have died in 2014, including two killed by gunshot. Several of them died from car accidents or health issues.
Miranda said Friday that none of the wolves have been shot to death since the ban was enacted.
The Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 public meetings will be in Columbia and Swan Quarter, respectively. The meetings are open to the public and will involve moderators interacting in discussions with the participants.
Journal of Mammalogy 95(4):855-861. 2014

Morphometrics of Canis taxa in eastern North Carolina
No Access
Joseph W. Hinton* and Michael J. Chamberlain
Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
* Correspondent:
Associate Editor was Roger A. Powell.


We describe the external morphological characters of red wolves, coyotes, and their hybrids from North Carolina and assess if morphology could be an accurate discriminator among the 3 canid taxa. We used body measurements from 171 red wolves (Canis rufus), 134 coyotes (Canis latrans), and 47 hybrids in a polytomous logistic regression analysis to assess if they could be used to identify canids as red wolves, coyotes, or hybrids. Polytomous logistic regression analysis of 7 morphometric variables was able to correctly allocate 86% of canids to their a priori taxa groups. Using Akaike's information criterion, we judged hind-foot length, body mass, width of head, and tail length as variables to best separate taxa. Among the 3 sympatric Canis taxa in eastern North Carolina, red wolves are clearly the larger canid with hybrids intermediate to coyotes and red wolves in body size. Our results suggest that red wolves represent a unique Canis phenotype in the southeastern United States.
Received: August 19, 2013; Accepted: April 8, 2014

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Mark LaRoux said...

I'd be interested in hearing what Dr. Christina Eisenberg and Dr. Robert Wayne have to say about the red wolf program (and it's genetics in general). I know it's not their forte, but Eisenberg is a fellow with the Boone and Crockett club, which will have a direct effect on the program through their WMI representative, and Robert is one of the foremost authorities on wolf genetics in north America.
Delene Beeland brang up some of the 'fishiness' with the program lately in her Wild Muse blog. Ironically enough, there are STILL historical samples of red wolves in the southeast that have not been sampled (I mentioned some on this site before). I question the FWS's due deligence.

Rick Meril said...

mark................i had previously given you Cristina's email address............give her a holler