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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.

Five-year status review for red wolf officially launches

Work on a five-year status review for the red wolf is underway and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information from citizens, the conservation and academic communities, and anyone interested in the red wolf’s status and recovery.  

“This is the first of five actions we announced last month as we move forward with this recovery work,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director.  “We are clearly committed to this recovery effort and appreciate the support, and feedback of our partners, who are similarly committed to success.”

A 60-day information-gathering period begins on Monday, October 31.

In September, the Service reaffirmed its commitment to the red wolf’s recovery, announcing a series of actions including this status review.  The Service spends $1.2 million annually on red wolf recovery - more than any other recovery initiative in the Southeast Region.  Funding that in large part supports a half dozen employees that manage the non-essential experimental population project in eastern North Carolina and the overall red wolf recovery effort.   Part of that staff now includes a Regional Red Wolf Recovery Lead, Emily Weller, a highly experienced wildlife biologist with a diverse career in conservation.  Similarly, the Service is maintaining leadership and capacity in eastern North Carolina.  

The other steps announced last month follow:  

First, the Service will move quickly to secure the captive population of red wolves.  The latest Population Viability Assessment (2016) indicates a need to further reduce potential risks to the captive population.

Second, the Service will evaluate potential additional reintroduction sites wild populations by October 2017. The Service will ensure these determinations will comply with all environmental rules and include public engagement.

Third, the Service will propose to revise the existing experimental population rule to apply only to the Dare County Bombing Range and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where stable packs exist on federal lands. This proposed action will change the scope of and goals for the experimental population and is expected to be completed by December 2017. These proposed changes will go through appropriate environmental review and public comment.

Finally, by October 2017 the Service working with others will complete a comprehensive Species Status Assessment building on the foundation of work accomplished over the past two years and past history. This will guide the Service’s recovery planning in the future.

Please submit information on the red wolf to:

Aaron Valenta at the Service’s Southeast Regional Office, 1875 Century Boulevard, Atlanta, GA 30345; fax 404–679–7081; email at

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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Looking for a media contact? Reach out to a regional spokesperson.

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