The release of captive red wolves from remote
acclimation pens in North Carolina from early
February through early April 2022:
RECOVERY efforts in North Carolina began in earnest
with the release of red wolves from the SSP program into
the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in
1987. More than 60 adults were released between 1987
and 1994 into refuges on the Albemarle peninsula in Beaufort,
Washington, Tyrrell, Dare and Hyde counties.
By the mid-1990s, the program had been deemed a success. It was
acclaimed by the wildlife service as “the first time a large carnivore
had been declared extinct in the wild and then reintroduced in the
However, the reintroduced red wolf population in North Carolina
peaked at 120 animals in 2012, and then rapidly declined due to
low birth rate and mortality. A litter of six pups — four females and
two males —born in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
in Dare County on April 19, 2022, was the first litter since 2018.
During the 2022 breeding season 28 pairs were established and
46 pups were born in 13 litters, but just 29 survived.
At least nine wolves were released in February and March of 2022.
A family group of five was released in the Pocosin Lakes National
Wildlife Refuge, located in the Inner Banks on the Albemarle-Pam-lico
28 october 2022
peninsula in Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties, while two
pairs were released in separate areas of the Alligator River National
The red wolf recovery program estimates there are between 19 and
21 red wolves in North Carolina today, with 10 known via radio
In July 2022, approximately 243 red wolves were being kept in
49 facilities across the country.
The red wolf’s range once extended from Texas to New York.
Ranging from 20 to 80 square miles to find food, they eat available
February 8, 2022
Red wolf pair (2272F and
2141M) was released
in the north Alligator
River National Wildlife
March 15, 2022
Red wolf pair (2262F and
2157M) was released in the
south Alligator River National
March 31, 2022
A family group of five (2133F, 2145M, 2340F, 2339M and
2384M) was released in central Pocosin Lakes National
April 4, 2022
A wild female (2280F) and captive-born male (2267M)
were released within her territory in east Pocosin Lakes
National Wildlife Refuge.
To report a suspected red wolf sighting
call the red wolf hotline at
— U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
This male red wolf was moved from St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in Florida to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North
Carolina in 2020. Inset: Red wolf at the Sewee Center in the Cape Romain NWR in South Carolina.
RUNNING WILD MEDIA