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A grey colored wolf with bright yellow eyes walking low to the ground.
Information icon Red wolf at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Photo by Seth Bynum, PDZA.

Service authorizes a private landowner to kill a red wolf

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife provided a landowner in the Red Wolf non-essential experimental population (NEP) area with authorization to take a red wolf using lethal means.  The landowner had previously received permission to capture wolves on his property.  The landowner secured the services of a trapper who captured two wolves last fall.  One wolf was returned to the Service and was subsequently released onto a nearby National Wildlife Refuge.  The other animal died in the trap.

Wolves continued to be observed on the property and the Service declared efforts to trap the wolves “abandoned,” and then authorized the lethal take, which he used to to kill a wolf on his property, in full legal compliance with the Endangered Species Act.

“This is not an ideal outcome, but it is authorized under the non-essential population designation of the red wolf, when these steps are followed,” said Pete Benjamin, Field Supervisor for the Raleigh Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Where landowners want wolves removed, but do not want federal biologists on their property, the Service requires that they first try to remove the animal by non-lethal means, such as trapping or harassing the animals off the property before considering other alternatives.

“That was the case here.  We were not allowed on the property, but the landowner did his due diligence in first attempting to capture the wolf using a trapper with our authorization,” said Benjamin. “We work with many landowners in the area and we respect their rights and their ability to manage their own property.”

Designation as a NEP allows for reduced regulatory restrictions off of federal lands, which benefits private landowners, and increases management flexibility for the Service as it works to reintroduce a species into the wild.


Phil Kloer, Public Affairs Specialist, 404-679-7299

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 can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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