Wild wolves return to New York State
10/26/11 - 11:29 am
Photo of wolf in Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Indiana by Flickr user sometimesong. Published under Creative Commons license.
It's official: Wolves are the new cougars.
A study published recently in Northeastern Naturalist, by Roland Kays and Robert Feranec of the New York State Museum in Albany, confirms that a wolf shot in Saratoga County in 2001 was in fact a wild wolf that migrated naturally into the area, not an escapee from a zoo or breeding facility.
The new discovery could shift the debate on how to conserve the gray wolf, a federally endangered species whose conservation plan is currently under review, and which could lose protection in the eastern part of its U.S. range soon.
The DEC issued a statement saying the study shows federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials need to reverse efforts to remove endangered species protections for wolves in the Northeast.
Said Christopher Amato, assistant commissioner for natural resources, "We continue to believe that natural recovery of wolves in the Northeast is possible and urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its recent proposals and to update its wolf recovery plan to reflect this new scientific information and support the natural recolonization by wolves."
To complicate matters, there is debate in the scientific community over whether the "gray wolf" (Canis lupus) and the "Eastern wolf" (Canis lycaon) are separate species. If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially determines that they are different species, Northeastern states could be officially removed from the gray wolf's historical range, and any gray wolves migrating into the area would not be protected. From the Adirondack Daily Enterprise:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on its wolf conservation strategies based on changes to the population, among other things. Earlier this year, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove gray wolves in the western Great Lakes area from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife- which includes Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin, and portions of adjoining states. Agency officials have said wolves have recovered in this area and no longer require federal protection. The service also proposed to revise the range of the gray wolf in all or parts of 29 eastern states because the eastern wolf has been recently recognized as a full species and not a subspecies of the gray wolf.
Another recent study, of which Kays was a co-author, analyzed the genetic code of dogs, wolves, and coyotes, and concluded that both "Eastern wolves" and "red wolves" were not separate species from the gray wolf, but wolf-coyote hybrids. But the study may not have any impact on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's management plans.
For the study that showed that the wolf killed in Saratoga County was wild, researchers analyzed bone and hair samples from eight wolf specimens killed in the northeastern U.S. The scientists found that three of them had spent their lives in the wild.
The method used to tell wild from captive wolf was rather ingenious: The researchers analyzed the bones for clues as to what kind of diet the wolves had eaten during their lifetimes.
Captive wolves are fed dog food, which contains a lot of corn. Most plants, during part the process of photosynthesis, create molecules with three carbon atoms, and are known as "C3" plants. But corn, along with the 1 percent of plant species known as "C4" plants, creates four-carbon molecules.
C4 plants contain higher levels of carbon-13, a rare isotope of carbon. By analyzing how much carbon-13 is in in a sample of bone or hair, scientists can tell how much of an animal's diet was based on C4 plants. Higher levels mean that the animal was more likely to be captive or domestic.
Have you seen animals that might be wolves in the Catskills? Leave a comment below, or send your wolf tales to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|NEW: Big Sky Pond, 5 BR cedar shingled home with swimming pond, tennis court on 60+ acres. Available for vacation renting.|
|O&W Presentation in Delhi|
|Civil War Reenactment at the Delaware County Historical Association|
|SEVEN FAVORITE MALADIES OF LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN|
|August 2, 2014: Workshop of Clarimonde|
|Margaretville Health Foundation 2014 Golf Tournament...August 24th|
|2nd Annual Golf Tournament to Benefit Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center|
|Safe and Happy Holiday|
|Customer Appreciation Sale!|
|Product Protection Plans are now available at The Catalog Outlet!|
|New Mini-Hors d’Oeuvres & Dessert Molds for All Your Summer Parties!|
|Introducing New Massa Jadeite & Colors: Inspired by Vintage Glassware|
|From the Blue Barn Baby collection|
|Lyon Mountain Blue Barn loves Old and Original Signs|
|Happy 4th of July|
|Enjoy the 4th of July Weekend|
|August at the Emerson|
|Celebrate at the Emerson this Weekend!|
|ZONDER KENNEDY AT CANS & CLAMS TOMORROW!|
|TRIVIA NITE EVERY THURSDAY AT THE ANDES HOTEL|
|We're hiring! Looking for a kitchen manager with enthusiasm and experience.|
|Thunder in the Valley Inter Tribal Pow-wow|
|Catherine Russell July 26, Saturday, 8 PM|
|Joseph Kurhajec Paintings and Sculpture - Friday, July 18|
|Gala Dance Under the Stars with Nation Beat - Saturday, July 19|
|Birds of Chicago on Saturday June 28, at 8PM|
|Newer price: Highly Motivated seller offering this desirable Roxbury Run Townhouse|
|Style....The music of your home.|
|A Safe and Happy July 4th|
|Southside Johnny Show Proceeds to Boost Local Ambulance Services|
|Farmers' Market of the Week: Walton Farmers' Market|
|Farmers' Market of the Week: Sidney Farmers' Market|
|Complimentary Tasting at Roxbury Wine and Spirits hosted by Kymar Farm Distillery!|
|Blue Sky Farms Blueberry Wine now available!|
|Tucked Away On A Very Quiet, Small & Well Maintained Country Road Sits...|
|Just One Look...|
|Fairs & Festivals of the Great Western Catskills!|
|Rural Genius Talk at Hanford Mills Museum|
|Independence Day Celebration at Hanford Mills Museum|
|ART OPENING & COCKTAIL PARTY|
|Don't Miss the Andes Library Garden Tour this Weekend - Come see my garden!|