Coexisting with Red Wolves
The red wolf has faced an embattled road to recovery since its listing in the first class of the Endangered Species Act. As the first carnivore successfully reintroduced into the wild, the red wolf recovery program became a model for the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone. The red wolf population in North Carolina grew to over 150 at its highest point, but when a vocal minority of local landowners took an interest and got in the ear of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, things started to go downhill.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has all but given up on the program in recent years. No more cross-fostering of pups or reintroductions. No more active management of coyotes. The population has dropped to fewer than 25.
Although the majority of North Carolinians support red wolf recovery, public misconception and intolerance also pose a significant challenge. To address these challenges, incentive-based coexistence strategies will play a critical role in safeguarding the red wolf's future. Ultimately, Defenders will continue to influence sound science and policy, educate the public and protect the red wolf from extinction.
Red Wolf Betrayal
Thirty years ago, the red wolf was reintroduced into North Carolina. The population grew to over 150 wolves before it collapsed.
The Red Wolf of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
For every endangered species, the road to recovery is anything but straightforward. Few species better embody this long road to recovery than the world’s most endangered canine: the red wolf.
North Carolina's Native Red Wolf
Learn more about the red wolf and its home in North Carolina.