Red Wolf recovery program will resume in earnest, raising glimmer of hope for survival
RALEIGH, CN– After years of litigation and advocacy by the Center for Biological Diversity and its allies, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday night that it is revitalizing efforts to save the red wolf from extinction. During an online meeting, the Service announced that it was redoubling its efforts to ensure that the red wolf not only survives in the wild, but makes a full recovery.
“It’s encouraging to see that the Biden administration has found the political will to save and restore the wild red wolf population on North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula,” said Carolina staff attorney Perrin de Jong. from North to Center. “We thank the brave new leadership of the Home Office for providing this course correction.”
The agency is committed to meeting almost all of the major requests the Center has made to the Biden administration for this program, including:
- Resume robust releases of red wolves into the wild population;
- Use a local coyote neutering program to protect red wolf genetics;
- Deployment of a puppy fostering program to increase the size of litters of wild red wolves;
- Rewriting of the red wolf recovery plan, including an exploration of new reintroduction sites for wild red wolves;
- Take steps to protect the safety of wild red wolves, including public awareness programs to build goodwill among local residents in the recovery area.
Last year the Biden administration has officially abandoned a red wolf management rule proposed by the Trump administration that would have reduced its protected range to 10% of the current size and legalized the killing of any wolf that wandered off federal lands.
Red wolves were once abundant in the Southeast, but the species is now the most endangered canine in the world. Today, only eight known wild red wolves remain in the wild, surviving in five sparsely populated eastern North Carolina counties. The last known litter of red wolf was born in the wild in 2018.
“To stabilize and recover the wild population, the Service will need to not only begin, but maintain robust reintroductions of red wolves on an ongoing basis,” de Jong said.
In 2020 and 2021, seven adult red wolves were released into the wild population. In 2021 alone, seven Red Wolves have been confirmed killed by collisions with vehicles, gunfire and unknown causes. Gunshots are the leading cause of death for wild red wolves, followed by collisions with vehicles.
“To fulfill the promise of the Endangered Species Act and truly restore the red wolf to the Southeast, the Service will need to not only save the North Carolina population, but also restore the species to the many sites worthy people in the region who can support it,” said de Jong.
Twenty thousand acres of prime habitat in five southeastern states have been identified as potential reintroduction sites for the species.