Manns Harbor, NC

The Red Wolf Recovery Program in North Carolina has confirmed the birth of a wild litter of Red Wolf pups within Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Eastern North Carolina, home to the only population of wild Red Wolves. This is the third year in a row the Milltail pack has produced a litter of pups.  


“The birth of a new litter of wild Red Wolf pups is cause for celebration,” said Heather Clarkson, Southeast representative at Defenders of Wildlife. “The Milltail pack’s story is one of resilience and has us all rooting for them every day. Every pup born in the wild brings us closer to recovery for the world’s most endangered canid, and is a clear sign that the Red Wolves can survive and thrive if managed properly.”  


Eight pups have been confirmed to the Milltail litter, the third litter of the breeding female and first with a new breeding male. The previous breeding male was struck by a vehicle in 2023 and succumbed to injuries. The wild Red Wolf population is estimated between 20-25.  


Defenders is and has been heavily involved in Red Wolf recovery since the 1980s through a combination of advocacy, public education and, most recently, litigation. In 2020, Defenders filed a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s management failures and the agency’s illegal decision to abandon the Red Wolf reintroduction program. In 2023, Defenders reached a landmark settlement that guarantees continued federal recovery efforts, requiring annual plans to release wolves into the wild. 



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 or follow us on X @Defenders.


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