In an effort to inform the 130,000 people living in New York's Adirondack State Park where wolves may soon be sharing the landscape, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) released a report today answering many of the commonly asked questions by residents about the big canines.
Citing the best available published information on wolf behavior and ecology, the 85-page report examines a wide range of concerns by farmers, hunters and homeowners living in the six- million-acre park.
"As conservation groups, government agencies and landowners debate the feasibility of restoring wolves to the Adirondacks, it remains clear that without public support, they have little chance of survival," said the report's author Angie Hodgson, a WCS biologist. "Our goal in releasing this report is to inform and advance the debate over wolf recovery and reintroduction."
The report shows that park residents fear wolf interactions with livestock, humans and the native deer population. However, Hodgson found that states with wolves had minimal livestock losses. For example, Minnesota's 2,200 wolves killed only 74 cattle out of a population of 232,000 last year. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there has never been a documented, serious human injury caused by a healthy, wild wolf since records have been kept.
Questions still remain whether the deer population can sustain predation from both wolves and humans, since wolves would directly compete with deer hunters, many of whom lease hunting rights from the park's private landowners (more than half of the Adirondack park remains in private hands).
Other topics included the difference between wolf reintroduction and natural re- colonization, the costs of wolf restoration, and changes in land use where wolves occur.
COPIES OF THE REPORT AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST