Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

October 5, 2010

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks Assistance with Investigation of Recent Red Wolf Death

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting assistance with an investigation involving the suspected illegal take of an additional red wolf. The dead wolf was located on October 4, 2010, at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in Dare County, NC. Previously, two radio collared red wolves were found dead in two different locations in Hyde County, NC in April of 2010. Anyone who has essential information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property on the subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of these red wolves may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500. There may be additional reward monies offered from non-governmental organizations. The red wolf is protected under The Endangered Species Act. The maximum criminal penalties for the unlawful taking of a red wolf are one year imprisonment and $100,000 fine per individual. Anyone with information on the deaths of these red wolves or any others, past or future, is urged to contact Special Agent Sandra Allred at (919) 856-4786, Refuge Officer Jay Eddy at (252) 216-8724, Refuge Officer Chris Smith at (252) 926-4021, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officers C.P. White at (252) 558-6649 or Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960’s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1973, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980.

The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other being the gray wolf, (Canis Lupis.) As their name suggests, red wolves are known for the characteristic reddish color of their fur most apparent behind the ears and along the neck and legs, but are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs. Intermediate in size to gray wolves and coyotes, the average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about 4 feet long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.

Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity. For learn more about red wolves, please visit our website at www.fws.gov/redwolf.