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Rolling Back the Red Wolf Recovery Program at Alligator River

posted Jan 6, 2017, 1:54 PM by chloe owens

11/27/16, by Catherine Kozak, Outer Banks Voice

Rolling back the red wolf recovery program at Alligator River

As the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s red wolf recovery program here marked its 25th anniversary in 2012, it was basking in nationwide accolades as a groundbreaking conservation success. Just four years later, it is teetering on the edge of failure, a turn of fate fanned by politics, mistaken identity and public ill will. “There’s something going on, and I can’t figure out why the agency has been so willing to backtrack,” said Ron Sutherland, a Durham-based scientist with the Wildlands Network.” The red wolf program in the Fish and Wildlife Service has basically been drawn and quartered.” Sutherland said the agency has not responded to a petition submitted in July that was signed by 500,000 people in support of wild red wolves, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Critics say the program has been a failure from the outset and that the Fish and Wildlife Service had released wolves on private property without the written permission of landowners….declared extinct in the wild…four captive pairs were transferred from Texas…At its height in 2005-07, 130 red wolves roamed the forested recovery area spanning 1.7 million acres…Today just 45 wolves remain in the wilds of northeastern North Carolina, as well as 200 or so in captivity…