Statement by Attorney Sierra Weaver on Today’s USFWS Status Review of Endangered Red Wolves
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--The Southern Environmental Law Center issued the following statement by senior attorney Sierra Weaver regarding the long overdue status review of endangered red wolves published today by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency. The SELC represents the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute in court challenging practices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency that have led to a sharp decline in the red wolf population, now estimated to include only three breeding pairs in the wild. Over 100 of the animals previously roamed five counties in eastern North Carolina.
“The red wolf population decline has been catastrophic, yet the Fish and Wildlife Service has not only failed to address that decline, it has actively contributed to it. The agency’s neglect in recent years may well spell extinction for wild red wolves.
“We’d like to think that the publication of this long-overdue status review is the beginning of reversing that trend, but the opposite seems true. The service’s discussion of a single small wild population of red wolves is nothing more than a modified zoo. It is not recovery in the wild, as required by the Endangered Species Act.
“The best available science shows that immediately restarting coyote sterilization and introductions from the captive population into the wild is necessary for the conservation of America’s wild red wolves.
“We and our clients are examining the agency’s report in detail and will be eagerly awaiting the agency’s next steps. These first indications are extremely discouraging and not supported by either the science or the law.”
For more than 30 years, the Southern Environmental Law Center has used the power of the law to champion the environment of the Southeast. With over 70 attorneys and nine offices across the region, SELC is widely recognized as the Southeast’s foremost environmental organization and regional leader. SELC works on a full range of environmental issues to protect our natural resources and the health and well-being of all the people in our region. www.SouthernEnvironment.org