News Release
Southeast Region

 

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Local and National Conservation Organizations Increase Reward to $21,000 for Investigation Assistance Related to Red Wolf Deaths

November 5, 2013

Contacts:

Flickr:

 

 

A male red wolf checking out his surroundings.

A male red wolf checking out his surroundings.
Photo credit: R. Nordsven - USFWS

 

Pledged contributions from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Red Wolf Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, and the Center for Biological Diversity have increased the reward amount for information on the suspected illegal take of two radio-collared red wolves that were found dead in two different locations in Washington County, N.C.

The first wolf was located on October 28, 2013, south of Roper and west of Lake Phelps, in central Washington County, NC. The second wolf was located on October 30, 2013, in the general vicinity of the first wolf. Persons providing essential information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, on the subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of one of these red wolves may be eligible for a combined reward of up to $21,000. Individual organizations pledging contributions will determine eligibility for payment of any reward.

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 death of this red wolf or any others, past or future, is urged to contact Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

Background:

The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations have been decimated 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 1967, 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 zoo-based breeding program. Consequently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980.

The first litter of red wolves born in captivity occurred in 1977. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7 million acres.

About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five northeastern North Carolina counties. Additionally, nearly 200 red wolves comprise the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program in sites across the United States, still an essential element of red wolf recovery.

The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other being the gray wolf, (Canis lupus). 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.

To learn more about red wolves and the Service’s efforts to recover them, please visit www.fws.gov/redwolf.

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation is a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to all North Carolina wildlife and its habitat. To learn more about the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, please visit www.ncwf.org.

The Red Wolf Coalition is a nonprofit conservation organization that advocates for the long-term survival of red wolf populations by teaching about the red wolf and by fostering public involvement in red wolf conservation. To learn more about the Red Wolf Coalition, please visit www.redwolves.com

The Human Society of the United States is a nonprofit organization that seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that will also benefit people. To learn more about the Humane Society of the United States, please visit www.humanesociety.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit organization working through science, law and creative media to secure a future for all species, great or small, hovering on the brink of extinction. To learn more about the Center for Biological Diversity, please visit www.biologicaldiversity.org.

 

ORGANIZATION CONTACT AMOUNT OF REWARD CONDITIONS OF REWARD
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service John Elofson,

Tom MacKenzie,

David Rabon
$2,500 Anyone with 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 a red wolf may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,500 [wolves reported to be found on October 28 and 30, 2013].
NC Wildlife Federation Tim Gestwicki $7,500 The NCWF’s reward is in place through the end of the year to any person who provides information about the wolf killings that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property by the subject or subjects responsible.
Red Wolf Coalition Kim Wheeler $1,000 The RWC’s reward is in place through the end of the year to any person who provides information about the wolf killings that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property by the subject or subjects responsible.
Humane Society of US Elise Traub $5,000 “Reward of up to $5,000 per case for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally shooting red wolves that were discovered at the end of October 2013.”
Center for Biological Diversity Brett Hartl $5,000 “Reward of $5,000 for each of the two red wolves that were killed in the last two weeks [wolves reported to be found on October 28 and 30, 2013] for information that leads to the arrest criminal conviction or civil penalty assessment for the killing of these two highly endangered animals.”

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast.  Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.

 

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Last updated: February 20, 2014