Red WolfThe recent announcement released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on June 27, 2018 proposes to dramatically change the scope of the American red wolf recovery program in the wild. Under the proposed new policy, the area where wild red wolves can disperse safely and thrive under their protected status will be reduced from approximately a million square acres to just over 200,000 acres.

Designated as an endangered species in 1967, today, there are only about 30 red wolves known to roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina. Another 200 red wolves are maintained in captive breeding facilities throughout the United States, including two breeding pairs here at the Endangered Wolf Center. In fact, in 1987, an amazing female red wolf named Brindled Hope, born at the Endangered Wolf Center, was one of the first of eight animals introduced to the wild in North Carolina. She became the first red wolf to give birth in the wild. Today, many of the wolves now roaming free in North Carolina can trace their roots to the Endangered Wolf Center.

While the proposed changes to the recovery plan area reverses course on decades of efforts, we at the Endangered Wolf Center remain encouraged by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s commitment to keep the American Red Wolf Recovery Program moving forward despite the numerous challenges the Service faces. We are heartened by the Service’s assurances that they’ll actively seek out additional recovery areas in the historic range of American red wolves to help reestablish and restore the population in the Southeastern United States.

The Service has now prioritized working with state and local landowners in North Carolina, to modify management of the red wolf in an effort to reevaluate how they can increase the success of the recovery program. Building community support for the American red wolf is a critical step that can benefit recovery efforts in North Carolina, a fact that FWS has openly acknowledged.
As an active member of the conservation and zoological communities, along with institutions like the Smithsonian, Arkansas State University, and many others, we are poised and ready to step up and help with community outreach to ensure red wolves survive.

This new phase of refocusing will hopefully prove beneficial for the FWS’s overall efforts to grow their partnerships with stakeholders, non-governmental agencies and the state of North Carolina. By working with local landowners, we can start the process of re-growing the available recovery area for red wolves in North Carolina. We also plan to collaborate on research and education programs to show just how vital this keystone species continues to be for our ecosystems. And we will continue in our long history of successfully breeding critically endangered red wolves, to help aid in future release efforts. Our goal is to make sure this national treasure is saved for future generations of Americans.

We need your help and support.

1) FWS is seeking comments about the proposed changes to the Red Wolf Recovery Program in North Carolina. Please submit positive, constructive suggestions and support to continue recovery efforts, and to grow them in North Carolina and in the red wolf’s historic range. You may post your comments to FWS online by July 30 at:

or write in to:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2018–0035
5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803

2) We urge you to write your state and federal representatives and tell them you want them to support saving the American red wolf. They will hear you.

3) Your financial donation to the Endangered Wolf Center and/or other organizations fighting for this species will help us fight for the future for the American red wolf. To donate online, click here.

Thank you for your support of this important cause. You may learn more about the red wolf and the work we are doing to save this amazing species at:

FWS North Carolina Public Comments