Animal Law

Number of the Day: 10% of Red Wolves Killed (This Year)

Today’s Number of the Day is 10%, which is the number of Red Wolves killed this year by poachers.

“Nearly 10 percent of red wolves living in the wild have been killed by poachers this year, putting the species on the fast track to extinction. The actions of a few ignorant, misguided criminals have severely crippled the recovery of one of the rarest animals in the United States.” – Brett Hartl with the Center for Biological Diversity.


The Red Wolf population is critically endangered, and it’s currently at about 100. There are actually more red wolves in captive breeding facilities — 200 — than there are those roaming freely in North Carolina, the only place in the world where they live. In the past week, two more federally protected red wolves were found shot to death. It is unlawful to hunt these beautiful animals. So how is this happening? Some of these deaths are downright intentional. The others? Accidents. Unfortunately, coyote hunting is legal in the Red Wolf Recovery Area, and five red wolves killed since 2012 were because the hunters mistook them for coyotes. While this is absolutely terrible, it also means we can help prevent more deaths. It simply doesn’t make sense to allow hunting of coyotes, who can be easily mistaken for red wolves (even in the daytime), to continue in the Recovery Area. Please visit the Red Wolf Coalition for more information and ways to help.

There is a reward for anyone who has information leading to the arrest on the Red Wolf deaths. Contact USFWS Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

Related Links:

Photo of the red wolf used under creative commons license; photo by Jim Liestman.

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