After completing my recent book on red wolves, I began to set up a Friends of the Red Wolf group to support the conservation of Canis rufus in the wild. Working in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program, the Friends group will focus on augmenting conservation efforts in the Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina. Our main function is to raise funds which will be used to execute projects and purchase field supplies needed by the red wolf recovery program.
Red wolves are critically endagered, and some consider them to be among the most endangered canids on the planet. A network of forty-one captive breeding facilities across the U.S. work to safeguard the species from extinction while the FWS works to restore a population of about 100 wild red wolves in northeastern North Carolina. My book on red wolves traces their modern reintroduction and management as well as what is known of their past history in the eastern United States. Some of the modern reintroduction challenges include managing them to prevent hybridization with wild coyotes, mitigating disruptions to packs due to human-caused red wolf deaths, and changes to their habitat cause by sea level rise due to climate change. (All of these issues are explored in depth in my book.)
Another recent threat to red wolves came about last year when the state of North Carolina allowed open-season daylight hunting of coyotes to be extended to night. Red wolves are mostly nocturnal, and they appear visually similar to coyotes (although adults are larger), so by allowing the night hunting of coyotes the state’s newly proposed hunting regulation potentially places red wolves at risk of being shot in cases of mistaken identity. An injunction was placed on the night hunting rule, although a permanent change to the hunting regulations remains a possibility.
You can visit the website for the new Friends of the Red Wolf group and find photos of red wolves and a blog post explaining a little bit more background about the formation of the Friends group. If you feel so inclined, there is also a page explaining how to make a donation.