The Endangered Red Wolf

By: Candace Day

History of the Red Wolf

The scientific name for this stunning wolf is Canis Rufus but it is better known as the red wolf. The wolf was declared endangered in 1973 and a plan was created to locate and capture as many red wolves as possible and bred them in captivity then release them into the wild. The biologist captured the only 17 remaining and 14 of those 17 are responsible for all of the red wolves left. The red wolf was declared extinct in 1980. By 1987 enough red wolves were bred to start the introduction of the red wolf back into the wild. Only 50-75 wolves actually roam the North Carolina country side. Another 178 reside in captivity. They were knocked out by intensive predator control problems and loss of habitat. Experimental populations also reside on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina,Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.5 million acres.

Description

The red wolf is easily identified by the reddish tint to the wolf's coat. The tint is most apparent by the ears and along their legs and neck. The wolf is mostly a brownish color (as seen in the pictures below). The Red wolves superior coat is shed in mid to late spring. This allows the the wolf to be less vulnerable to heat stroke in the warmer months. The average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about 4 feet long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. They prey on mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. They are most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity. They usually live and hunt in packs of 6 to 8 animals because the red wolf is a very social reliant animal.

Location

Before the red wolf was endangered it roamed the coastal plain prairie and marsh habitats. Since they were declared extinct they have been put on nature reserves. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina,Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.5 million acres is now where they roam freely.