Management Plan a Threatened Endangered Species My Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Management Plan a Threatened Endangered Species. (My topic Rocky Mountain Wolf) You demonstrate a knowledge species question, habitat requirements, natural history, . Then learned, develop a management plan bring population species choice back brink "threatened" "endangered" status.

Management plan for the Rocky Mountain Wolf

Setting the context

The threat of environmental instability is becoming clearer. If until 2011, skeptics could have argued that global warming is a make belief phenomenon, recent studies have attested that 2010 was the warmest year in history, validating as such the theory of global warming (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2011). In this context, the animal species become more prone to disappearance and the label of endangered species becomes more severe.

One such species is represented by the Rocky Mountain Wolf, which faces risks of extinction. The scope of this current endeavor is that of creating a management plan by which the Rocky Mountain Wolf population would no longer be considered an endangered species. Before creating the plan however, it is necessary to introduce the audience to the species and to its problem, as well as to the results of the so far implemented plans.

2. The Rocky Mountain Wolf

The Rocky Mountain Wolf is in fact a subspecies of the wolf regnum. It is scientifically named Canis lupus occidentalis, but it is often referred to as the Alaskan wolf or the Mackenzie Valley wolf. The Rocky Mountain Wolf's fur varies in color, from shades of white and black to grey, tan or even blue-ish shades. The most common colors are however the black and the grey ones.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf weighs an average 100 pounds, but it can weigh as much as 145 pounds. In terms of height, the wolves generally measure 30 inches at the shoulders. They usually live and travel in packs of 6 to 12 wolves, but packs of up to 30 animals have also been documented. In Alaska, where the Rocky Mountain Wolves are mostly common, the size of the territory is of 600 square miles.

Aside from Alaska, the Rocky Mountain Wolves can also be found in other regions of western U.S. And western Canada. In Alaska, subspecies were introduced in central Idaho and in the Yellowstone National Park with the intent of increasing the population of wolves. They usually prey on:

"Moose, bison, elk, caribou, Dall sheep, Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, beaver, salmon, vole, lemmings, ground squirrels and snowshoe hare" (International Wolf Center, 2009).

3. The problem

The wolf populations have suffered dramatic decreases. In the Yellowstone National Park for instance, the Rocky Mountain Wolves were hunted into extinction by 1926. At the overall level of Northern America, 42 per cent of the grey wolf population was eradicated by the twentieth century (Constible, Sandro, Lee Jr., 2008).

The Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan introduced has managed to increase the population of wolves to an estimated 1,700 wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains, but this number is still insufficient. It is as such believed that a total number of 2,000 wolves would ensure the stability of the population. Matt Skoglung, at the National Resources Defense Council:

"We're real close to recovery. We've got 1,700 wolves in the Rockies. But we're not there. We want to see a plan in place that ensures genetic connectivity among the subpopulations and ultimately guarantees a sustainable wolf population" (Matt Skoglung, quoted by The Associated Press, 2010).

An important piece of the problem is as such constituted by the debate between the wolves being or not endangered, as well as by the fact that the success rates of the already implemented programs are questionable.

4. Results so far

At the level of results, notable emphasis should be placed on the results of the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan (NRMWRP) which sought to reintegrate the subspecies in central Idaho and the Yellowstone National Park. After eight years of preparations, the plan was eventually implemented in 1994-1995 and it has generated positive results. Specifically, the wolf population was measured to have increased to 170 animals. Additionally, the mating between the animals in various packs also increases the success rates of the repopulation.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service created the Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery Plan (NRMWRP) to reintroduce gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, with the expectation that these wolves will eventually repopulate the West. Eight years in the making, the plan was finally implemented in the winter of 1994-1995, when Canadian gray wolves were captured and released into two areas: Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. The program is believed to be highly successful, resulting in a population of about 170 adult wolves in each area, and mating between wolf packs indicates that the gray wolf is closer to becoming one integrated population" (Li, 2000).

The editors at the Parks and Recreation magazine have gone one step ahead and argued that the results indicate high success rates, according to which the Rocky Mountain Wolf is no longer an endangered species.

"Gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains are thriving and have been removed from the list of endangered species, according to Interior Department Deputy secretary Lynn Scarlet. The minimum recovery goal for the region's gray wolf population was 30 breeding pairs and 300 individual wolves for three consecutive years. The goal was met in 2002" (Parks and Reaction, 2008). According to the same study, the single are in which the subspecies is still considered endangered is in the Southwest of the United States.

The results of previous studies indicate positive findings, which support the efforts towards increasing the repopulation with Rocky Mountain Wolves. In order to preserve objectivity however, it has to be mentioned that several other programs have tested positive results of increasing populations. In spite of these promising results however, fact remains that the programs are still in their inception stages and clear results cannot yet be drawn.

The long-term effects of the programs are also uncertain and the most relevant example in this sense is constituted by the separation of the naturally increasing populations from the artificially supported wolf populations. The first argument in this direction is represented by the geographic separation of the natural wolf from the experimental ones. Secondly, the wolves in their natural habitats are better protected as they are considered endangered, whereas the experimental wolves are less protected under legislation (Li, 2000). This segregation of the animals casts shadows of doubt upon the success of the programs.

5. The management plan

The situation of the Rocky Mountain Wolves is rather different from that of other endangered species in the meaning that the wolf regnum is not considered endangered, and this is the result of the programs which have been developed and implemented throughout the past recent years. Presently, the Rocky Mountain Wolf is at the border of an endangered and a safe species. The situation which has been extensively presented so far indicates the need for an action plan focused on the following:

1. Legal pressures to declare the Rocky Mountain Wolf an endangered species. Unless this action is taken, the hunting of the wolves would commence once again and the grey wolf populations would decrease. This would specifically imply that the efforts of research centers and animal protection agencies and programs would have been in vain.

2. Sustained efforts to increase the size of the wolf population in the Northern Rocky Mountains to at least 2000 wolves. If possible, the number should even be increased further than 2000 as the population of wolves is expected to decrease as a result of hunting once restrictions are removed.

3. Finally, it is of the utmost importance to focus on the integration of the experimental wolves within the natural habitats, rather than in supervised regions. Specialists should as such ensure that…

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