By Iulia Filip
North Carolina's approval of coyote hunting allows illegal killing of the world's only surviving wild population of endangered red wolves, which look like coyotes, conservationists claim in court.
In violation of the Endangered Species Act, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission this summer approved a rule authorizing coyote hunting, knowing that it would endanger red wolves, according to the complaint.
The Southern Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Institute sued the state commission, in Federal Court.
Last year the groups challenged in state court a temporary rule authorizing night hunting of coyotes. Now they have sued on behalf of thousands of members and supporters who live close to the Red Wolf Recovery Area, in eastern North Carolina.
"The Commission's authorization of coyote hunting through its rules, licensing, and other permits causes the illegal take of red wolves to be committed by hunters mistaking red wolves for coyotes," the complaint states. "Because of the similarity of appearance between red wolves and coyotes, it is nearly impossible for individual hunters to avoid shooting red wolves. This is especially true under new regulations allowing coyote hunting at night, with spotlights, in the Red Wolf Recovery Area."
The federal government listed the red wolf as an endangered species in 1967, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act. More....