Manteo, NC

This week, Red Wolf Recovery Program staff confirmed a litter of six wild Red Wolf puppies, the first born in the wild since 2018. The pups, which include four females and two males, were found in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.

Ben Prater, director of Defenders of Wildlife's Southeast Program, released the following statement:

“This is extraordinary news for Red Wolves in the wild. This litter of six Red Wolf pups represents a new hope for the recovery program. We are so grateful for the FWS biologists that made this happen. We’re hopeful this is a sign of things to come in the species recovery.”

Image
Red Wolf Pups
Red Wolf Recovery Program
Six Red Wolf pups, the first wild-born pups since 2018.

Once common throughout the Southeast, Red Wolves faced extinction in the late 1970s after intensive predator-control programs and loss of habitat, prompting FWS biologists to capture the very last wild individuals for a never-before-tried effort at captive breeding. In 1987, biologists reintroduced four wild pairs into Alligator National Wildlife Refuge near the Outer Banks.

Image
Wild-born Red Wolf Pup
Red Wolf Recovery Program
Officials give a wild-born wolf pup a health check and cheek swab to get a genetic sample.

The population grew to nearly 150 animals and was deemed an ESA success story. But increased poaching and illegal management changes in recent years led to a steep decline in the wild population—no more than 25 wolves survive in the wild today.

For over 75 years, Defenders of Wildlife has remained dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come. To learn more, please visit https://defenders.org/newsroom or follow us on X @Defenders.

  

Media Contact

Senior Vice President, External Affairs
lsheehan@defenders.org
202-772-3244

Related

Image
Red Wolf

News

Image
Great blue heron with fish
Chapel Hill, NC

Bird sanctuary protected from planned toxic chemical use this year

As a result of a lawsuit filed by SELC on behalf of Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to halt its plans to turn an iconic migratory bird sanctuary into a testing ground this summer for a chemical that is toxic to birds.
Image
2023.04.27 - Northern Bobwhite Eggs Burned - Texas - Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program (CC BY-ND 2.0).jpg
BOCA CHICA, TEXAS

Defenders responds to report on shorebird losses at Boca Chica after SpaceX Starship Launch

Defenders of Wildlife released the following response to a Coastal Bend & Bay Estuaries Program report that points to shorebird nest losses following the June