Since Jan. 1, 2013 six of these highly endangered wolves have been gunned down, including two in eastern North Carolina in October.
Red wolves once roamed the entire southeastern coastal plain of the U.S., but years of relentless persecution and hunting reduced them to fewer than 100 individuals by 1970. They were finally declared endangered in 1973 and, within a few years, the last 17 wild red wolves were captured to begin a captive breeding program.
By the mid 1980s, enough wolves had been bred in captivity to begin releasing them into North Carolina's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. But the recovery efforts have been plagued by illegal shootings and wild red wolf populations in North Carolina have barely recovered to around 100 individuals.
Take action today and tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to increase law-enforcement and outreach efforts to put an end to the illegal killing of these critically threatened wolves.
To Regional Director Dohner,
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the two illegal killings of red wolves in the last week of October of this year.
[Your comment will be added here]
The red wolf reintroduction program has suffered repeated setbacks due to illegal killings of red wolves in and around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge reintroduction site. In addition to these two illegal takes, five additional red wolves have been killed as a result of confirmed, or suspected, shootings. These killings are preventing the species from moving toward recovery.
Clearly, increased outreach to local communities and additional law enforcement resources are needed to address this increasing tide of poaching. I am asking you to review how U.S. Fish and Wildlife law enforcement resources are allocated and hope that you will be able to bring more resources to bear to address this serious problem. Hunters must also be better educated to prevent accidental shootings of red wolves in the reintroduction area.
The red wolf remains one of the most endangered mammals in North America. The Alligator River reintroduction represents the only place where red wolves are found in the wild. This species should not be condemned to a future in zoos and captivity because the Fish and Wildlife Service was unable to increase its efforts to tackle the problem of illegal red wolf shootings.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent problem.