Red Wolf Recovery Program
Southeast Region

Recovery Timeline

Red Wolves Arrive at Manteo Airport
First red wolves arriving at Manteo airport, 1987. Photo: USFWS.

 

Significant events in the history of the Red Wolf Recovery Program:

1967

Red wolf listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Preservation Act

1968

USFWS begins study of red wolf in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana

1969

First red wolf places in captivity initiating the red wolf captive breeding center at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

1973

Endangered Species Act becomes Federal law

1973

First recovery plan approved

1977   

First litter of red wolf pups born in breeding program at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Tacoma, Washington

1978

First successful experimental release, tracking, and recapture of red wolves on Bulls Island, South Carolina, solidifies reintroduction techniques

1980

Last red wolves removed from the wild; declared biologically extinct in the wild

1984

Recovery plan revised and implemented

Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium receives approval from American Association of Zoos and Aquariums for a Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP)

Land Between The Lakes red wolf reintroduction project abandoned due to lack of public and state support

  Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) established on land in northeastern North Carolina

1986

Publication of a final rule in the Federal Register to introduce mated pairs of red wolves into the ARNWR

1987

Restoration effort begins with the experimental release of red wolves at ARNWR, North Carolina

1988

First litter of red wolf pups born in the wild at ARNWR

1989

Second island propagation project initiated by the release of red wolves on Horn Island off the coast of Mississippi

Recovery plan updated; 1st USFWS plan to include the Red Wolf Species SSP as a conservation strategy

1990

Third island propagation project begins by releasing red wolves on St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge, an island off the Gulf Coast of Florida

Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (PLNWR) established on land within red wolf experimental population boundaries in eastern North Carolina

1991

American Sheep Industry Association files petition to delist red wolf based on genetic analyses

  Publication of a final rule in the Federal Register to introduce mated pairs of red wolves into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)

1992

Experimental release begins at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP), North Carolina/Tennessee

1991 Petition request to delist the red wolf found unwarranted by USFWS

1993

First red wolves born in the wild at GSMNP

Red wolves released onto PLNWR

1995

Amendment to Interior Appropriation Bill introduced in Senate to suspend all funding for Red Wolf Recovery Program. Amendment narrowly defeated.

North Carolina law to allow taking on red wolves on pri vate property in two counties goes into effect.

Publication of an amendment to the special rule in the Federal Register addressing private landowner concerns about reintroduced red wolves

National Wilderness Institute files petition to delist red wolf based on nuclear DNA results

1997

1995 petition request to delist the red wolf found unwarranted by USFWS

1998

Red wolf project ended at GSMNP

  Publication of a final rule in the Federal Register to terminate attempts to restore a wild population of red wolves in the GSMNP

Island propagation program ends at Horn Island off the coast of Mississippi

2000

Adaptive management plan implemented to address red wolf/coyote hybridization at ARNWR

2005

Island propagation program ends at Bulls Island, South Carolina.  Remaining red wolves are relocated to ARNWR and SSP facilities

2007

Red Wolf Recovery Program receives the Association of Zoos and Aquariums North American Conservation Award

2013

Approximately 90-110 wild red wolves (~70 known radio-collared animals) exist in the northeastern North Carolina recovery area; and ~190 red wolves in >40 captive breeding facilities participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan.

 

Red Wolf Pups
Photo Credit: Greg Koch.

Last Updated: 8/14/14