Wild wolves return to New York State
10/26/11 - 10:29 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 [email protected].
|Holiday Weekend Shopping at Tay Tea|
|Get Prepped for Thanksgiving at Tay Tea!|
|What's Better Than Sex?|
|Tay Bar's Bountiful Fall Menu!|
|Holiday Wedding Special!|
|Still Time For Senior Portraits!|
|PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR HEART IS. EMERSON SUPPORTS #SHOPLOCAL AND SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY ON NOVEMBER 28th|
|Black Friday Shines Bright at the Emerson with Festive Family Fun|
|Happy Thanksgiving Catskills|
|Happy Veterans Day|
|Administrative Coordinator Position Open|
|Andes Hotel looking for servers.|
|Great three course Thanksgiving Dinner at the Andes Hotel!|
|Live music by Crane & McCoy next Friday at the Andes Hotel!|
|BUY ONE NIGHT GET ONE NIGHT FREE AT THE ANDES HOTEL|
|A collaboration with local college students comes to life!|
|Support our Veterans- November 11th|
|Brewery Open Mic & Karaoke- EVERY Thursday|
|FREE Schoharie Beverage Trail tasting! Saturday, November 21, 1-4pm|
|Free tasting TODAY! 4-7pm|
|Free tasting Friday, November 13, 4-7pm|
|Volunteers Wanted For 2016 Festival in Fleischmanns|
|GRBA Holiday Party, Tuesday, December 8 at Public Lounge & Restaurant|
|Annual Community Food Pantry Promotion|
|DEEP WATER SCREENS AT OLIVE LIBRARY, SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21ST AT 10:30AM|
|RAILS TO THE CATSKILL SCREENS AT D&H CANAL HOUSE SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7TH|
|Wildlife Portraits: Hand-Colored Photographs by Naturalist Walt Meade - Slide Show & Gallery Talk|
|DCHA to Present Awards of Merit; Presentation to Focus on “Unknown Museums of Upstate NY”|
|Artists' Supplies at X-it|
|5 Solar Myths Busted|
|Save $1000 per year on household bills|
|MUSIC MUSIC MELEE: WIOX ADMITS NO WRONG-DOING|
|Fresh Pork, Order Your Turkey, & Chef Rob on WAMC's "Food Friday"|
|Reserve your spot for "Eat Like A Pig" Supper Club, Fresh Lamb, Goat & Pork in the Cooler|
|This weekend! A chance to stay at Spillian!|
|Tonight! An Asian Feast Inspired by Spillian's Lotus Room|
|Spillian on a Plate on Hiatus, Returning in January!|
|Glimmerglass Film Days, November 5-9, Offers Compelling Mix of Receptions, Filmmaker Talks, and Award-Winning Films|
|“Personal Perspectives” at The Smithy in Cooperstown|