US Fish and Wildlife Service withdraws proposed rule for non-essential experimental red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina

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Red wolf puppy. Photo: Ryan Nordsven / USFWS

For more than 30 years, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners have worked to conserve and recover the red wolf. On November 10, 2021, the Service announced the decision to withdraw the proposed 2018 rule to replace existing regulations governing the designation of the North Carolina Non-Essential Experimental Population (NC NEP) of the Red wolf under section 10 (j) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Based on recent court rulings involving the NC NEP and after taking into account public comments submitted in response to the Proposed rule of 2018, the Service determined that removing the proposed rule was the best course of action at this time.

The the red wolf is listed as an endangered species within the framework of ESA, except in part of North Carolina where it was reintroduced as a non-essential experimental population. The NC NEP is the only known wild population of red wolves.

Withdrawal of the proposed 2018 rule means the red wolves in the NC NEP will continue to be managed under current regulations, as specified by relevant court orders. Management under the 1995 rule recognizes the authority of the Service to release additional wolves and perform adaptive management. The NC NEP will continue to encompass the five counties of the Albemarle Peninsula (counties Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington).

Within the NC NEP, the service will work with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to implement coyote sterilization on federal and non-federal lands (subject to written agreements with landowners). The permitted take will be limited to the protection of oneself or others from potential harm, the protection of immediately endangered livestock or pets, and unintentional taking.

The Service will continue to work with stakeholders to identify ways to encourage and facilitate a more effective coexistence between humans and wolves, through programs such as Prey for the Pack, and to establish the necessary support for the conservation of the red wolf.

The proposed rule that was published on June 28, 2018 to replace existing regulations governing the NC NEP designation of the red wolf under ESA Article 10 (j) will be withdrawn on November 15, 2021, when published in the Federal Register. The proposed rule withdrawal, comments and additional documents are available at www.regulations.gov (File n ° FWS-R4-ES-2018-0035).

For more information on the red wolf recovery program, visit www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/mammals/red-wolf.

Source: Jennifer Koches, US Fish and Wildlife Service


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