Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 4, 2019

Contact: Perrin de Jong, (828) 595-1862, perrin@biologicaldiversity.org

Public Records Lawsuit Seeks Emails on Trump Administration's Red Wolf Extinction Plan

RALEIGH, N.C.— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a lawsuit to force the Trump administration to release emails related to the development of a new, highly controversial management plan for the world’s only population of critically endangered red wolves.

The lawsuit comes after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally refused to comply with the Center’s 2016 request under the Freedom of Information Act seeking public documents on the plan’s development. Today’s suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C.

The agency’s management plan would undermine Endangered Species Act protection for the world’s most endangered wolf.

“The public has every right to know whether the Trump administration is working to save the red wolf or if our wildlife managers are focused on ensuring its extinction,” said Perrin de Jong, a staff attorney at the Center. “Refusing to release agency emails only feeds our worst suspicions that the administration has been working in secret to create a reckless red wolf extinction plan.”

Red wolves were once abundant across the Southeast, but now only 24 known wild red wolves remain, surviving in five sparsely populated counties in eastern North Carolina. In June Trump’s Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a new management rule for the species that would shrink its protected range to 10 percent of the current size and legalize the killing of any wolf that wanders out of the newly restricted area.

Public reaction to the administration’s proposed management plan was overwhelmingly opposed, with 107,988 comments, or 99.9 percent, calling for strong protection and recovery of the species.  

“The Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility to fulfill the promise of the Endangered Species Act and restore the red wolf in the Southeast,” said de Jong. “When federal officials hide their emails from the public, it seems obvious they’re trying to sweep dirty deeds under the rug.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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