Saturday, April 18, 2009

What about wolves?

People sometimes ask me when I give talks on endangered species in NJ about deer, bears, coyotes and even wolves. Well, NJ does have all of them (but wolves only in captivity, not in the wild as with the others) but the Endangered and Nongame Species Program is concerned with just that - endangered, threatened and nongame species. Species that have legal hunting and fishing seasons are not part of the program.

However, all of them are of interest on this site, because issues with other species are frequently connected to the species protected by the ENSP.

For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently took the final step prior to the official delisting of northern Rocky Mountain gray wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act. The agency's delisting rule for the region's wolves was published in the Federal Register and that puts in motion a 30-day countdown to delisting wolves in the northern Rockies.

"The wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) has exceeded its numerical, distributional, and temporal recovery goals every year since 2002. The States of Montana and Idaho have made strong commitments to maintain wolf populations well above minimum recovery levels. In combination with continued U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) management in Wyoming, the NRM population will contain over 1,200 wolves at its low point in mid-winter. Therefore, the Service is designating a northern Rocky Mountain wolf Distinct Population Segment (DPS) that will include all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, and a small corner of north-central Utah. This wolf population will be removed from the protection of the Endangered Species Act [Act], except in Wyoming."
Whenever there is a delisting, it has both good and bad aspects. On the good side, federal officials are saying that "...threats to the wolf population in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS, have been resolved, as evidenced by the wolf population’s healthy annual growth, high genetic diversity, and wide-spread distribution."

On the other side, conservation groups are likely to challenge the delisting of wolves in federal courts (as they did previously to stop a wolf delisting rule released during the Bush administration that covered all of the northern Rockies, including Wyoming). They believe that the protection is being done prematurely. As an example, officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are already preparing for a statewide wolf hunt that will begin in September should the federal delisting stand.


  1. Why don't they send some of these wolves that are being killed to NJ so they can deal with the excess of deer we have in the state. deer might be pretty but they are causing havoc in the Nj ecology, cause an enormous amount of traffic accidents, some of them fatal, and are the cause of the Lyme disease epidemic we have in NJ. I don't see why we have to keep wolves in captivity only, I mean after all we have bears roaming around in our back yards too, of course bears do not kill cows, could that be the reason?

  2. I have frequently seen as recently as yesterday what appears to be to be a wolf. It looked just like the picture on this site. Large, bigger than my 80lb german shepard. bushy tail sticking straight out. yellow eyes. neighbors and i have also sighted what appears to be a mountain lion. No mistaking that one. Northern NJ

  3. I also was wondering about a wolf sighting in West Milford NJ, off of Union Valley Road Feb 2011. Too big to be a coyote. Hmmmm....

  4. We NEED our Timber Wolves, Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves back, not only to regulate the larger prey but also our largest predator the Coyote.

    Northern Rocky Mountains wolves, the very wolves, have also had a dramatic impact on coyote populations, benefitting fox and other species.
    By the way, Wolves are a very small cause of livestock losses and there are many proven methods for ranchers to avoid losing livestock to wolves. I look at it this way the benefit weighs out the rest and with anything WE NEED to take action on preventative measures for things not to get injured or harms like; livestock, children, people. If WE THE HUMANS didn't destroy this animal species WE wouldn't have so many extra measurements because things can live in harmony look at how the coyote has flourished the state of NJ to the point almost everyone has seen them everywhere yet minimal incidences have happened because WE haven't/can't destroy it as easily as WE did the wolf. Sadly if WE didn't destroy the wolf it would be OUR control on the coyote. See OUR mistake??? Anyhow WE NEED to bring the wolf back since coyotes are now no longer a 10% of our state instead they are a whooping 96% now, WE NEED to WAKE UP & DO RIGHT before it's too late for US.


  5. on two seperate occasions I have spotted a wolf in Ramsey, NJ. It is not a coyote whichI see all the time as my property backs up to darlington. It was too large to be a husky and not thin like a coyote. The coat was very thick and full. I was less than 100 feet away, it just stopped , looked at me and then went on its' way.

  6. On October 15 My friend, her husband and I were trying down a road in I believe it was Milford, nj near a state park, when two large healthy wolves wandered out on the road and just stood there. They looked exactly like the photo on this site.

    1. There are no free roaming wolves in NJ. Other than those in captivity, it is more likely a coyote or possibly a coywolf - see the posts here on both of those species.