We have reported on the status of critically endangered red wolves, which one were quite common in the United States. The wolves, which are smaller than their gray wolf cousins, became critically endangered. They are said to be the most critically endangered canine species on earth.
The situation was so bad that in 1967 the species was declared functionally extinct and the 100 or so remaining in the wild were captured and used to start a captive breeding stock. The goal has been the reintroduction of wolves beyond North Carolina. Wolves have been reintroduced there but the program has faced many challenges. It is estimated that only 20 wolves are in the wild in a small section of North Carolina. About 200 are believed to be in the captive breeding program. They are spread among 45 institutions seeking to pull the species back from the edge of extinction.
Good news came recently in the the announcement that pups have been delivered and may help in the fight against extinction. The Roger Williams Park Zoo made their announcement May 5. The six-year-old mother, Named Brave, delivered a single pup in early May and so far the pup appears to be gaining weight. Meanwhile, a surprise occurred at Woodlands Nature Station in Land Between the Lakes. Jasper and Ember delivered a litter of four puppies recently. It is surprising because Jasper is 13 and was thought to be too old to be a father. Woodlands Nature Station is a member of the team of 45 zoos and other research facilities trying to save the wolves. Land Between the Lakes is a National Recreation Area in western Kentucky and Tennessee. The Roger Williams Zoo is a facility in Rhode Island that is also the efforts.
The bad news is that one of the few remaining red wolves in North Carolina was killed. Authorities are looking for the killer who shot a red wolf in the spine in a muddy area of Tyrrell County, North Carolina. The wolf was necropsied and its lungs were full of mud, suggesting a slow and cruel death. Tyrrell County is the least populous in the state and one of five in which the wolves survive. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has offered $5,000 in rewards. Other groups have chipped in and the total is over $20,000.
Authorities ask anyone with information about the killing to call North Carolina Division of Refuge Law Enforcement Capt. Frank Simms at (252) 216 7504 or special agent Jason Keith at 919 856 4786 ext. 34