Sustainability Environment

Two critically endangered red wolves released in NC wildlife refuge

A female red wolf emerges from her den at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., on May 13, 2019. (Associated Press photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Story at a glance

  • Two red wolves were reintroduced to the wild in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on Feb. 8.
  • 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.
  • In the coming weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release the remaining red wolves into conservation areas.

Two red wolves were released this month into a conservation area west of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, the Red Wolf Recovery Program announced on Saturday.   

First steps towards the wild!” the program wrote alongside a video on Facebook, adding: “These 2 red wolves (Female 2272 from Zoo Knoxville and Male 2141 from the Western North Carolina Nature Center) are the first of the 10 wolves brought to the NC NEP during the winter 2021/2022 to be released.”   

The two red wolves were reintroduced to the wild in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. 


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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 

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will release the remaining red wolves into conservation areas, including the Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges. 


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