Court Places Injunction On Coyote Hunting to Safeguard Endangered Wolves
In an order issued on May 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle placed a preliminary injunction on coyote hunting in the five-county red wolf recovery area in northeastern North Carolina. This order will work to protect the world’s wild population of red wolves! Critically endangered red wolves have been decimated by gunshot mortality in recent years, in part because red wolves are frequently mistaken for coyotes, even in daylight.
“Today’s decision provides the thoughtful, balanced approach to red wolf conservation that we hoped for,” said Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the Red Wolf Coalition and other groups. “As the court found today, coyote hunting is causing more harm than good to both red wolf conservation and coyote control efforts. Today’s ruling is good for red wolves, and good for landowners.”
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The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild since the last remaining (a mere 14 red wolves) were all living in captivity. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. Today, about 100 red wolves remain North Carolina’s red wolf recovery area.