ESA Research Paper – The Red Wolf The species I have chosen to analyze for this research paper is the red wolf. It’s scientific name is Canis Rufus, and it’s listing status is Endangered and Experimental Population, Non-Essential. If we break down this organism into more specific classifications, we have Kingdom: Animalia; Class: Mammalia; Order: Carnivora; Family: Canidae. Its closest living relatives include the gray wolf (Canis lupus), which is also listed as endangered in the ESA, and the coyote (Canis latrans).
Historically, the species was found in forest, swamp, and coastal areas, spread across he southeastern United States from southern Missouri, pushing all the way to North Carolina. Currently, these wolves are being reintroduced in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge coastal region in North Carolina, but many are still in 32 captive facilities across the nation, along with 2 small island projects off Florida’s coast.
In the wild, a typical red wolf’s diet is about 50% deer, 30% raccoon, 10% rabbits, and 10% rodents (1), making the refuge area perfect for reintroduction, since the human population is of moderate size, and prey species are abundant there. The red wolf usually reaches sexual maturity at about 2 years old. They breed once a year, and pregnancy lasts about 63 days. Most litter sizes are between 4-5 pups.
There are a few reasons why the red wolf was listed as an endangered species – loss of natural habitat, being preyed on heavily by neighboring humans, increased susceptibility to disease because of dwindling numbers, and hybridizing with coyotes. Today, hybrids of red wolves and coyotes are tracked and sterilized so they don’t further dilute the red wolves genetics. The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild by 1980, with only a handful of red wolves in captivity. In 1973 the Red Wolf Recovery Plan was completed and the implementation of that plan began. 2) The red wolf population is now increasing in numbers – wolves are typically bred in captivity and released in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge, but now there are even red wolves successfully reproducing in the refuge itself. The same controversy that affects red wolves encompasses all wolves – human attitudes toward them and their reintroduction. Policy makers, landowners, environmentalists and many others also hotly debate the value of reintroducing wolves into an ecosystem.
The biggest case made against red wolves is usually that they pose a threat to the cattle industry. (3) Wolves are blamed not only for kills but also for stressing out cattle, which causes them to lose weight, producing less beef. While is it true that docile cattle make an easy target for wolves and coyotes, this problem can be managed by keeping ranches away from the wolves, and having wolves in a habitat with many prey available. he entire world – the gray wolf and the red wolf.
Protecting the red wolf protects biodiversity. Also, predators are needed in the wild; red wolves help keep deer and other populations in check. I think in the next 100 years, these wolves will have a still small, but stable population, and can be taken off the endangered list. REFERENCES http://www. fieldtripearth. org/article. xml? id=683 (1 ) http://www. endangeredwolfcenter. org/educational-resources/red-wolf/ (2) http://www. britannica. com/blogs/2008/09/the-case-for-wolf-reintroduction/ (3)