For a few weeks now, I’ve been suspecting that something awfully fishy is going on in Red Wolf Country. I can’t escape the premonition that higher-ups in the Fish and Wildlife Service are positioning their pawns to kill or significantly alter the red wolf reintroduction program. Three years have passed since I finished writing my book on red wolves, and it’s been one year since it was published. But so much has changed since then I can only shake my head in disbelief. All the hope I held onto when completing the book is wavering.
Red wolves are globally endangered, and though a captive population exists in some 40-plus breeding facilities across the U.S., the planet’s only wild red wolves, a mere 90 or so, inhabit 1.7 million acres on a spit of coastal swamp and forest known as the Albemarle Peninsula. The first reintroduced red wolves were released into Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on September 14, 1987. Nearly 27 years later, the FWS appears to be coming under intense pressure from anti-wolf advocates to shut down the red wolf program entirely.
On Friday, August 29, the FWS Southeast Regional Office issued a press release announcing the beginning of a 60-day review of the program and asking for public input. There’s information at the bottom of this post about how to submit comments. But first, there are a few importat things to note about what’s happened, and what hasn’t… taken together, something very fishy is brewing on the horizon: Continue reading