I N T O T H EWild
Red wolves are making a comeback
in North Carolina.
B Y P A T B R A D F O R D
BY the late 20th century, the red wolf
population had almost been wiped out,
victim of an intensive predator control
program as well as destruction of its
habitat. The only states where they were found
in the wild by the late 1970s were Texas and
Louisiana, where they survived in the coastal
prairie and marshlands.
First designated as threatened under the
Endangered Species Preservation Act in 1967,
they are currently listed as endangered under
the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began
efforts to conserve and recover the red wolf
through trapping wild wolves for captive
breeding with the intention of reintroducing
the species in the wild. A Species Survival Plan
(SSP) began in the early 1970s with 14 captured
red wolves, established at Point Defiance Zoo
and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.
In 1990 an isolated island
off the Gulf Coast of
Florida became a
for red wolf
to the wild
they would be
into the North
Carolina coastal area.
Right: A captive red wolf at the Species Survival Plan facility in
the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, WA. Above:
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services biologist holds a captive-born
red wolf pup that will be fostered into a wild litter.