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Red Wolf Panel at an Impasse

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A panel organized by USFWS to help chart the future of the planet’s only wild population of red wolves is at an impasse prompting one member to resign. The 13-member team is having trouble agreeing on whether the recovery program should be continued or abandoned. Termination of this recovery effort in North Carolina would inevitably result in the loss of the last wild population of red wolves, rendering the species “extinct in the wild.”


As a participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), the Wolf Conservation Center has played a critical role over the past 13 years in giving the rare species a second chance by preventing extinction through captive breeding and supporting the Alligator River reintroduction project by producing the wolves for reintroduction. The red wolf reintroduction was among the first instances of a species, considered extinct in the wild, being re-established therein from a captive population. In many ways the red wolf program was the pilot program, serving as a model for subsequent canid reintroductions, particularly the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest and the gray wolf to the Yellowstone region. The red wolf’s return could not have happened without the cooperation for the red wolf SSP, and its “homecoming” remains a significant milestone not only for the rare species, but for endangered wildlife conservation.

Do you think USFWS should save the program that is charged with recovering this critical endangered species?