In his order, Chief Judge Terrence Boyle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina made permanent the Obama administration’s 2016 order to end the Fish and Wildlife Service’s shoot-to-kill authorization, which means that neither the agency nor private landowners can capture and kill red wolves that roam off their refuge unless the agency can prove that a wolf is a threat to humans or livestock.
The court’s decision stands to significantly alter the agency’s June proposal to decrease the protected habitat of the endangered wolves by nearly 90 percent. The plan would have limited red wolves to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and an Air Force bombing range.
The Southern Environmental Law Center, the nonprofit law firm that filed the case on behalf of several environmental organizations, states that as few as 24 red wolves remain in the wild — all in Eastern North Carolina. — By Kennedy Kavanaugh