One of Only 45 Red Wolves Remaining Found Dead on North Carolina Refuge
By Brett Hartl, biologicaldiversity.org
The Center for Biological Diversity on December 30, 2016, added $7,500 to the reward for information leading to a conviction or fine in the latest illegal killing of an endangered red wolf in North Carolina.
The dead wolf was discovered December 21, 2017, on the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, where red wolves are given the greatest amount of protection under the Endangered Species Act.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has already offered a $2,500 reward in the case.
“There are only 45 red wolves left in the wild, so the deliberate killing of any individual wolf is a terrible blow to the conservation of this amazing species,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “This deplorable slaughter is a stark reminder of why federal regulators must quickly rejuvenate their stalled efforts to save this precious species before it disappears forever.”
Although once abundant along the entire coastal plain of the Southeast, red wolves were pushed to the brink of extinction after decades of relentless persecution. After the species was declared endangered in 1973, 17 wild red wolves were captured for captive breeding. Wolf releases began in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in the mid-1980s, but recovery efforts have repeatedly been thwarted by illegal shootings.
“We’re adding to this reward because red wolves are a critical part of America’s heritage, and we shouldn’t let a few killers deny future generations their opportunity to see these animals in the wild,” said Hartl.
The best available science demonstrates that red wolves can be recovered if these illegal killings end. A 2014 report (PDF) by the Wildlife Management Institute concluded that if red wolves are going to recover, two additional populations need to be established in the wild, and additional resources need to be invested to build local support for their recovery. The Center for Biological Diversity submitted an emergency petition (PDF) in May 2016 to strengthen rules protecting red wolves from illegal shootings and to identify additional reintroduction sites where red wolves can thrive.
Anyone with information about the killing should contact:
- North Carolina Wildlife Officer Frank Simms at 252.216.7504, or
- Special Agent Jason Keith at 919.856.4520 x.34.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.