Raleigh, NC

Today, Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) sent letters to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), urging the USFWS to work harder to save critically-endangered red wolves from extinction. In his letter, Governor Cooper noted that his administration had asked the agency to recommit to the recovery strategy a year ago to no avail. Given the rapid population decline, the governor argued for immediate action to stem the decrease, including releasing captive animals into the wild, preventing hybridization with coyotes, supporting local education efforts and prosecuting poachers. 

The American red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered mammals. While the red wolf once roamed from New Jersey to Texas, only about 14 wolves live in the wild today on North Carolina’s Albemarle Peninsula. Currently, there are no active breeding pairs or intact packs of red wolves in the wild.

Ben Prater, Southeast Program Director at Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement: 

“These letters shine as beacons of light in the red wolf’s recent dark history. Governor Cooper has laid out a comprehensive plan to address the red wolf’s dire situation with the urgency it demands. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can no longer ignore their responsibility and we call on them to work with Governor Cooper and DNCR to quickly implement these recommendations and save the last wild red wolves from extinction.” 

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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