The tragic history of species extinction in North America is well known and yet, we find ourselves at the brink another extinction event in 2016. The Red wolf population has been dwindling since 2006 because of neglect and inaction on the part of the U. S. Fishing and Wildlife Service (USFW). Today, there are only 45 red wolves left in the wild. The USFW has just recommended that these wolves be taken out of the wild and put into captivity. The USFWS’s recommendation goes directly against a study released by a panel of experts titled, Red Wolf Population Viability Analysis which stated that this policy “will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.” This is a huge problem.
Red wolves are an apex predator, which means that they are indispensable to the maintenance of the ecosystem they inhabit. Apex predators keep the population of grazing animals in check and without them, the grazing species can seriously disrupt the balance of their environment leading to erosion, food scarcity, and a variety of other problems. We have already seen this happen in Yellowstone National Park – Gray wolves were eliminated from the park, the elk population skyrocketed, and the increased population destroyed the Aspen groves in the park. So why are we making the same mistakes again?
Wolves have an undeserved bad rap. We’ve all heard the story about the big bad wolf, but in reality, we are the monsters. States that have wild wolves sanction wolf hunts to eliminate the animals, arguing that wolves are dangerous to the communities and the livestock. This, however, is not true. Cows are responsible for more human deaths every year than wolves are, but we maintain that the latter are vicious and bloodthirsty. A recent study suggests that killing wolves will actually increase livestock predation.
The Wolf Conservation Center is at the front of the fight to protect the Red wolf. If you would like to join them, you can send a letter to the head of the USFW asking that the wolf be allowed to live in the wild and that the species is given the protections it needs to survive. Click here to send a letter.