Landowners Needed to Save the Red Wolf

The last fourteen remaining red wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction 35 years ago and became the ancestors of all red wolves alive today. Through careful breeding and reintroduction efforts, there are now 50-75 red wolves raising pups. These wolves range across a portion of their native habitat on the Albemarle Peninsula in eastern North Carolina, with another 200 red wolves in captive facilities across the country.

Red wolf.  Photo by Curtis Carley, USFWS.

Red wolf. Photo by Curtis Carley, USFWS.

But, this endangered species once again faces an uncertain future.

Landowner cooperation has been pivotal to the success of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program and the goal of establishing a healthy red wolf population in eastern North Carolina.

Wildlife, like the red wolf, do not recognize the boundaries of public lands, so the cooperation and stewardship efforts of private landowners are essential to the recovery of this endangered species. While North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge became the first release site with the introduction of four male-female pairs in 1987, the red wolf now ranges across three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense site, state-administered lands and private property.

Due in part to a breakdown in communication and trust with local landowners, the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently announced that it is suspending any further red wolf introductions and conducting an evaluation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.  The outcome of the evaluation is expected by the end of 2015.

The Road to Recovering an Amazing Species

Together with the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and other partners, National Wildlife Federation is working to help ensure the recovery of this amazing species. We have supported red wolf reintroduction since the 1980s, and over the years, we have advocated to increase federal funding for red wolf recovery and helped fund rewards for information leading to the conviction of poachers of these amazing animals.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program has been instrumental in helping to bring red wolves back from the brink of extinction. The program is vital for combating the imminent threats faced by this endangered American species.

What We Can Do Right Now

While red wolves may only currently exist in North Carolina, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility to all citizens of the United States to work towards recovery of the red wolf by improving landowner relations, enhancing communication and transparency, and possibly using incentives for private land owners.

Strong conservation voices from across the country are needed to ensure that the red wolf continues to rebound.

Take ActionPlease join with us in urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work with landowners to SAVE the Red Wolf Recovery Program. Write on the USFWS Facebook page now calling for action!

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