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Recovery and Protection for Gray Wolves in the Northeast!

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(Taken from the US Fish and Wildlife Site)

Wolves in the Northeast

What is the Service proposing for wolves in the Northeast?

Recent taxonomic studies and other scientific information indicate that the historical range identified for the listed gray wolf (Canis lupus) is in error. The best available scientific information suggests that the wolf species that historically occurred in the Northeast is the eastern wolf species (Canis lycaon), formerly considered a subspeciees of C. lupus.  As a result, the Service is also proposing to revise the gray wolf (Canis lupus) listing by removing all or portions of 29 states where evidence suggests the gray wolf never occurred. The Service will also initiate a status review of C. lycaon to determine whether further ESA action is warranted for this species.

How does this proposal affect the Northeast?

Should this proposal become finalized, any wolves entering the Northeast would not be protected under the Endangered Species Act, as they are now.

What is the current wolf situation in the Northeast?

The Service has no evidence indicating the current presence of a wolf population in the Northeast.  Any wild wolf discovered in the Northeast is likely to be a dispersing individual from a neighboring Canadian population.

How will the Service conduct a status review for Canis lycaon?

The status review, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, will evaluate the status of the species throughout its range, including Canada. The review will be based on the best available scientific and commercial information, including the Service’s current understanding of North American wolf taxonomy.  State and provincial wildlife agencies will be engaged in the status review.  Also, the public is asked to submit information on the status of C. lycaon and may comment on this status review at any of the public hearings on the proposed rule;

One public hearing will be held in the Northeast – in Augusta, Maine, on June 8. Details of this public meeting will be announced at a future date.

I met with John Glowa of the Maine Wolf Coalition.  John explained to me that there is evidence of gray wolves populating the northeast, and US Fish and Wildlife has no evidence that they don’t.  From what I read it appears that they want to delist the gray wolf, Canis Lupus, but possibly protect the species Canis Lupus Lycaon, and rename it Canis Lycaon.

Here lies the problem.  Both species of wolves are identical in appearance and how can one without the other be protected?  Talking to experts in the field the only way to differentiate between the two is through DNA analysis.   Another problem arises as how wIll Fish and Wildlife now address the management of coyotes and other admix species of wolf?  Their appearance in the wild is so similar and certainly would lend to protected animals being killed if there were to be a hunting season, or even a specified management kill by the US Fish and Wildlife.

We are asking that everyone TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY and strongly make your voices heard in reference to the above information, and also with the Take Action statement below.

Growing evidence suggests gray wolves are attempting to naturally re-colonize the Northeastern United States from neighboring populations in Canada and perhaps the Great Lakes states.

The availability of wolf prey and habitat has been documented to support wolf recovery, as both are abundant in the Northeast. The only obstacle to the return of the wolf in the Northeast is leadership and a clear plan for its recovery.

Wolves coming into the Northeastern U.S. should be allowed to live as intended under the ESA. The problem is the resemblance of wolves to coyotes which makes it difficult for hunters and state and federal wildlife agencies to differentiate the two, especially considering the large body size and probable hybrid status of the eastern coyotes (wolf-coyote) also living in the Northeast. Although US Fish and Wildlife does acknowledge the Eastern Wolf (canis lyacon) in the Northeast, and while it is important to protect this species, it is just as important that they acknowledge the gray wolf (canis lupus) and protect this species, as well. How do you manage one without the other?

Since none of these states acknowledge the presence or likely presence of gray wolves (canis lupus), they have failed to provide the measures necessary to adequately protect them from being killed, accidentally or intentionally, so that they can continue to disperse naturally throughout their historic range in this region. These states have no management plan to address the potential return of wolves, nor do they promote wolf recovery.

Both anecdotal and scientific evidence suggests the presence of the gray wolf in the Northeast:

(1) Given the wolf’s intelligence and ability to travel long distances, it is likely that wolves can and regularly do disperse south from eastern Canada into the Northeastern U.S. There are several potential corridors through which wolves may cross the St. Lawrence River which, when frozen, allows wolves ready access to cross and travel further south.

(2) Physical evidence, in the form of dead wolves, has been found and identified in New York, Maine, Vermont. Massachusetts and New Hampshire since the 1960’s.

(3) In addition to newspaper accounts, there are many sighting reports of possible wolves in the Northeast, including dozens in the files of the Maine Wolf Coalition ( and state fish and wildlife agencies.


US Fish & Wildlife is accepting public input prior to a June 8th hearing in Augusta, ME. The Maine Wolf Coalition (link above) will be at that hearing. Please send your comments to:

* Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (

* US Fish & Wildlife Service ( )

If helpful, feel free to personalize the message below. Thank you for your consideration.

Sample Letter:

Based on anecdotal and scientific evidence, I believe that the gray wolf naturally occurred in Northeast US. I am disappointed that federal and state wildlife agencies fail to recognize the existence of the gray wolf in the Northeast and thus deny them the protection which they are legally entitled to under the Endangered Species Act. I urgently request that you direct US Fish and Wildlife to establish a Northeastern Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segment in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. I also expect that a Northeastern Gray Wolf Recovery Plan will be developed and implemented to afford them the protection needed to continue their natural re-colonization of the Northeast US.

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