Protections Uncertain as Red Wolf Population Declines

Years after a recovery program increased the population of the endangered red wolf to 100, there are now fewer than 60 red wolves existing in the wild in Eastern North Carolina.

In September, federal officials announced a proposal that would reduce the area where red wolves are protected from the five-county area where they now reside to a federal wildlife refuge and surrounding land in Dare County starting in 2017.

Conservation groups such as the Southern Environmental Law Center argue that the reduction of red wolf territory will eventually decimate the wild population, while wildlife officials say that transferring wild wolves to captive breeding programs will help sustain the genetic diversity of the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a public comment period on the proposal, though details have not been announced.

— Tristin Van Ord


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