Scientists say red wolf study was misinterpreted

FILE - In this file photo taken Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, a male red wolf enjoys a feeding in it's habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. A lawsuit filed Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, argues that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when it gave landowners permission on two occasions to kill wolves without meeting strict legal requirements. It asks a judge to force the service to stop such incomplete kill approvals and to perform a past-due review of the wolves' endangered status. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – Four scientists cited in a decision to scale back the only wild population of red wolves say the government misinterpreted their work, according to a letter released Tuesday.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in September it intends to sharply reduce the wolves’ territory in eastern North Carolina and remove some wolves from the wild to bolster a separate captive breeding population.

The wildlife service’s Southeast regional director, Cynthia Dohner, said at the time that recent data showed the captive population wasn’t secure and swift action was needed to ensure the future of all red wolves – wild or captive. A memo signed by Dohner cites a government-commissioned Population Viability Analysis as its source on the captive population’s precarious position.

But four of the report’s five authors wrote in a letter this month that their findings were misconstrued, saying the captive population isn’t in danger. The fifth author is employed at the wildlife service.


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