Sustainability Environment

Fish and Wildlife Service to release nine endangered red wolves near Outer Banks

In this June 13, 2017, file photo, the parents of this 7-week old red wolf pup keep an eye on their offspring at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. (Associated Press photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Story at a glance

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is preparing to release nine endangered red wolves to a conservation area west of the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
  • The red wolf, endemic to the United States and considered the most endangered wolf in the world, once called the entire Southeastern U.S. home before habitat destruction and overhunting nearly killed off the species.
  • The nine red wolves consist of a family and two additional breeding pairs that conservationists hope will help rebound the population of the species in the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is preparing to release nine endangered red wolves to a conservation area west of the Outer Banks in North Carolina. 

The red wolf, endemic to the United States and considered the most endangered wolf in the world, once called the entire Southeastern U.S. home before habitat destruction and overhunting nearly killed off the species. Red wolves were listed as endangered in 1973 under the Endangered Species Act. 

Now, the USFWS is working to transfer and release nine of the wolves to a conservation area that includes the Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges. The nine red wolves consist of a family and two additional breeding pairs that conservationists hope will result in breeding to help rebound the population of the species in the wild. 


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The USFWS recently held a virtual meeting with local residents, landowners, and stakeholders to address concerns and ensure a smooth transition in habiting species. The service has appointed a community liaison and set up a red wolf recovery hotline to aid with the transition. 

“We are committed, more than ever before, to working with our partners — the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, landowners, and other stakeholders — to identify ways to encourage and facilitate a coexistence between people and red wolves,” Catherine Phillips, the USFWS’s assistant regional director in the South Atlantic-Gulf and Mississippi Basin Regions, said in a press release 

“The recent meeting allowed us to hear from the local community and stakeholders, and to share with them what we are doing and plan to do going forward. We cannot recover the red wolf without them.” 


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