RALEIGH, N.C. (Jan. 30, 2015) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission on Thursday adopted two resolutions regarding reintroduction of red wolves in North Carolina — the first requesting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service end its experimental, non-essential red wolf reintroduction project in northeastern North Carolina, and the second requesting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service capture and remove all individual animals and subsequent offspring that were unauthorized releases on private lands by the federal agency.
The Wildlife Commission cited hybridization with coyotes, encroachment onto private lands and a failure to meet project goals as reasons to end the program in North Carolina. The red wolf reintroduction area occurs in Washington, Beaufort, Tyrrell, Hyde and Dare counties.
The Wildlife Commission cited 64 unauthorized releases of red wolves on private lands in what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had intended to be done on federal public land as one of the reasons to recapture the red wolves and offspring that were unauthorized releases.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation in November 2014 to address deficiencies and determine the program’s future in eastern North Carolina, with a broader announcement on an overall decision expected in early 2015.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves an endangered species in 1967 and consequently declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980. Some 200 red wolves are held in captive breeding facilities across the United States.