Defenders Takes Another Step Toward Adirondack Park Wolf Reintroduction

(06/25/1997) - Adirondack Park, New York -- Defenders of Wildlife, a national nonprofit conservation group with more than 200,000 members and supporters nationwide, today announced the placement of two representatives in the Adirondack Park region of New York. Defenders is currently leading the investigation of possible wolf recovery in the six-million acre Adirondack Park. Among the most recent activities under way to help move this important conservation initiative forward is the addition of Steve Kendrot and Michelle Balzano to the Defenders' wolf pack.

New York native Steve Kendrot, Defenders' Northeast Field Representative based in Plattsburgh, will be meeting informally with park residents about this important initiative, as well as holding town meetings and other public forums throughout the park to keep residents and visitors apprised of the status of this program. Michelle Balzano, Defenders' Eastern Timber Wolf Educational Outreach Coordinator based at the Utica Zoo in Utica - is also a New York native. She will be visiting county fairs throughout the state this summer with informational materials about wolves and wolf recovery. Individuals interested in visiting Defenders' education booth this summer can contact Balzano at (313) 735-5803. Both representatives are graduates of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse.

Defenders has been working with Paul Smiths College to form a Citizens' Advisory Committee (CAC) comprised mostly of interested parties within the Adirondack Park and with some statewide representatives. Committee members will represent broad, diverse interests such as hunting, trapping, property rights, timber, recreation, tourism, and environment. The first meeting of the CAC will convene on June 28, and committee members will be requested to share the concerns and interests of their constituencies in developing a feasibility study to examine wolf recovery.

Defenders is also working with scientists to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP), seeking a consultant or academic to conduct an objective feasibility study regarding the biological potential of returning wolves to the Adirondack Park and the social implications of doing so. The Citizens' Advisory Committee will provide input into the development of the RFP, which is expected to be released by midsummer.

The eastern timber wolf, a gray wolf subspecies, once roamed the Great Northern Woods from New England to the Great Lakes and through southeastern Canada to the Hudson Bay. Today, the eastern timber wolf survives in only 3 percent of its historic range in the United States, and is extirpated from the Northeast. The wolf has been missing from New York for 100 years.

Defenders of Wildlife was instrumental in restoring the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park, as well as the red wolf to the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. Defenders is also directly involved in returning the Mexican wolf to its former range in the desert of the Southwest and has also initiated a project to return the wolf to Olympic National Park in Washington state. Defenders of Wildlife maintains a $100,000 Wolf Compensation Fund to pay ranchers in and around Yellowstone for verified livestock losses from wolf predation.



Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270