There are only about 100 left – and if drastic measures aren’t taken soon, the critically endangered red wolf could once again be pushed to extinction in the wild by coyote hunters in North Carolina.
Last week, Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups officially filed suit in federal court to halt uncontrolled hunting of coyotes in the red wolves’ North Carolina habitat. In the past year, hunters have killed at least 10 red wolves – that’s 10 percent of the remaining wild population of these remarkable creatures.
North Carolina’s red wolves are the last remaining wild population on earth. These animals were extinct in the wild as recently as 1980 due to intensive predator control and loss of habitat. A concerted reintroduction program has raised the wild population of these animals to roughly 100, all confined to a small area in the eastern part of the state.
Red wolves are almost indistinguishable from coyotes in daylight, and at night they are virtually impossible to tell apart. In spite of this, the state has authorized almost unlimited hunting for coyotes in red wolf habitat. Unless the hunting is stopped, red wolves are in serious danger of once again disappearing from the wild.
[Just thinking out loud here, but how about, while we’re at it, halting the uncontrolled hunting of coyotes throughout the country; Isn’t it time we all learn to live with them?]