A preservation group calls for wolves and cougars to be reintroduced to the Adirondacks after their 150-year absence.
Almost 150 years ago, packs of grey wolves and numerous cougars dominated the food chain of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Their once flourishing numbers were completely eliminated by hunters going after animal bounties during the 19th century.
Protect the Adirondacks, a wilderness preservation group, is now calling for wolf and cougar reintroduction. This comes after the the hope that the subject would be brought up by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in their latest Wildlife Action Plan.
“While we applaud the DEC for completion of the new Wildlife Action Plan, we’re disappointed that the plan contains nothing about possible reintroductions of big carnivores, such as wolves and cougars, to the Adirondack Park and New York,” said Peter Bauer, the Director of Protect the Adirondacks in a recent press release.
Once in a great while, lone cougars and wolves will move into the area from the Great Lakes area and Canada. These animals are usually males looking to claim new territory, but never stay due to the lack of females in the area.
“We cannot rely on natural recolonization for cougars from the west,” said Bauer.
With the larger predators gone from New York, coyotes moved into the area. While they do help some, they are not completely capable of the population control that bigger predators are capable of.
“While coyotes have helped fill this void they do not replace these long absent top carnivores. New York’s Wildlife Action Plan should evaluate habitat viability for these carnivores and make a full assessment about their conservation status and trends within the state, the northeast region, and beyond,” explained Bauer in the press release.
The DEC was taking public comments on the matter until July 17 towards their decision to proceed with studies into possible reintroduction. They hope to have an answer for the public soon as to whether they will proceed or not.
Protect the Adirondacks hopes New York begins planning for the return of the great predators.
“They’re a historic part of the landscape and their return would be a great success story about ecological restoration.”