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Happiness for a wolf pup is getting belly rubs from Dad

Jack’s (red wolf M1606) grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy. Plus someone has to keep those adorable and messy pups clean!

Beyond being cute (and messy), this critically endangered pup represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to protect and preserve critically endangered red wolves, the center is also active in physically safeguarding representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to its care.

The WCC is one of 43 facilities in the U.S. participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a breeding and management program whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Red wolves, native to the southeastern United States, were almost driven to extinction by intensive predator control programs and habitat loss.

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) captured the last wild red wolves (just 14 animals) and declared the species extinct in the wild.

In 1987, USFWS released the first captive red wolves in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a federal reintroduction program under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act.

Although the red wolf recovery program once served as a model for successful recovery of wolves, political barriers and consistent mismanagement by the USFWS have seriously threatened the continued existence of this highly imperiled species. In its most recent proposal announced last month, the agency recommends reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves. Moreover, USFWS proposes to allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

July 30, 2018, is the last day to submit comments on the federal proposal. You can find additional information and talking points here.