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Service updating red wolf recovery plan

A white, black and brown wolf standing on a sandy road
Red wolf. Photo © Robert Ondrish, used with persmission.

The Service is updating the current Red Wolf Recovery Plan that was finalized in 1990. Through partnership, the Service is committed to working together to complete an updated recovery plan by Feb. 28, 2023. Updating this recovery plan is a priority for the Service. Following a review of the red wolf program in 2014 and 2015, the Service announced significant changes for red wolf recovery in its 2016 Memo of Recommended Decisions. In that memo, the Service committed to completing a Species Status Assessment (SSA) for the red wolf by October 2017 and using it to guide recovery actions, including updating the Red Wolf Recovery Plan.

The Service intended to complete a revised recovery plan in 2018. However, delays in the SSA (completed in April 2018) and then a pending taxonomic review of the red wolf (completed in March 2019) postponed work on the recovery plan.

In its April 2018, 5-Year Review, and at the August 2018 Red Wolf Science and Conservation Workshop, hosted by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the Service reiterated its commitment to updating the recovery plan. Additionally, the Service emphasized that information and recommendations from the workshop would be key input for the development of a new recovery plan.

The updated recovery plan will follow the Service’s Recovery Planning Implementation Process. This is a three-document approach consisting of:

  1. SSA – this document evaluates species viability and provides the foundational biological information to develop and support a recovery plan.
  2. Recovery Plan – a concise document that contains the Endangered Species Act statutorily required elements: recovery criteria, recovery actions, and time and cost estimates.
  3. Recovery Implementation Strategy – this document itemizes the prioritized on-the-ground activities needed to implement the actions identified in the recovery plan.

The development of a recovery plan and an implementation strategy will be done in coordination with partners, species experts, and stakeholders. To ensure a transparent and joint stakeholder process and a recovery plan based on the best scientific information available, the Service has contracted the Conservation Planning Specialist Group, a key member of the Species Survival Commission, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to assist with facilitation and modeling services.


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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