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Ben Zino: A Youth Wildlife Ambassador Working to Save Red Wolves

Meet Ben Zino from Salisbury, North Carolina. When the West Rowan High School Sophomore learned that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, is walking away from recovering the last wild population of critically endangered red wolves, Ben had questions. He submitted a two-page report inquiring about the future of the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina, but never received a reply.

Ben was thus compelled to roll up his sleeves and start his own petition on and successfully collected over 120,000 signatures! This being said, Ben feels that most of the public, even in North Carolina, still doesn’t even know what a red wolf is. So he made this video.

Thank you, Ben! You exemplify the amazing potential of your generation to make this world a better place!

Add your name to Ben’s petition HERE.

Learn more about the contemporary threats wild red wolves face today HERE.


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. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1973, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980. 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 an estimated 45 red wolves roam the wilds of northeastern North Carolina.