In NY’s 2005 SWAP wolves and other extirpated species were among those included on the SGCN list. The NYDEC itself acknowledged the need to recognize the wolf listing as a SGCN in its 2005 Strategy for Conserving New York’s Fish and Wildlife Resources:
Recent peer reviewed scientific evidence has concluded that the decline of large predators has disrupted ecosystems all over our continent, and it is arguably humankind's most pervasive influence on the natural world. For NY, the wolf was one of the top predators that once called the Northeast its home and is presently the missing component of our regional ecology.
It is important to note that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the end of April to re-assess the at-risk status of several species, including the eastern wolf. “New genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Gray Wolf. In May 2015, a new wildlife species, Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was designated Threatened.” (COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2015) As a reminder, in its 2005 SGCN, the NYDEC acknowledged the Algonquin population of gray wolves as presently ranging just 50 miles north of NY’s border with Canada. It’s our assertion that we bear a responsibility as fellow conservationists to acknowledge the scientific conclusions made by COSEWIC and begin to appropriately prepare for the potential natural recovery of the Eastern wolf into NY and the rest of the northeastern U.S.A.
As conservationists, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, we need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and consider its potential for positively impacting the natural biological diversity of the Northeast.
Thank you for the opportunity to present these comments. We look forward to future discussions with your agency regarding these concerns.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members and supporters of the Northeast Wolf Coalition,
Northeast Wolf Coalition