The Secret World of Red Wolves

The Secret World of Red Wolves

Cover of The Secret World of Red Wolves (T. DeLene Beeland, 2013)

Red wolves are one of North America’s original wild canids, but they have fallen off the radar of everyone you might expect who champions wolves and wild things. Misunderstood and overlooked by science for centuries, they had nearly slipped into extinction when a bold rescue mission for their kind was conceived of by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1970s.

My book, The Secret World of Red Wolves: The Fight to Save North America’s Other Wolf, is the tale of this little-known, dimunitive forest wolf which used to live throughout the southeastern United States. This story takes readers deep into red wolf country in coastal North Carolina, and deep into the red wolf’s past. You’ll come face-to-face with wild red wolves, and collide head-on with the myths and misinformation that surround them. (University of North Carolina Press, 2013.)

E.O. Wilson lauded it with praise: “This excellent history makes clear the verdict that lies immediately ahead: the red wolf saved, America’s triumph; the red wolf lost, America’s shame.” Choice magazine called it “highly recommended,” and Booklist wrote: “The combination of first-person immediacy interwoven with red wolf history will delight animal lovers.” Find out for yourself — order your copy today through your local book store, Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble or

You can read an excerpt from Chapter Three, “The Search for Spring’s Pups” here. And you can read the Preface here. Or, listen to WUNC’S Frank Stasio talk with me about red wolves and the making of this book on his show, “The State of Things” (original air date June 26, 2013). Or read this post for more about the book, and my reflections on creating it. Lastly, I’ve archived links to my talks, events, and other media reviews here.

Book Jacket Copy:

Red wolves are shy, elusive, misunderstood predators. Until the 1800s, they were common in the longleaf pine savannas and deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. But red wolves were nearly annihilated by habitat degradation, persecution, and interbreeding with the coyote. Today, reintroduced red wolves are found only on peninsular northeastern North Carolina within less than one percent of their former historic range. InThe Secret World of Red Wolves, nature writer T. DeLene Beeland shadows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s pioneering program over the course of a year to craft an intimate portrait of the red wolf, its natural history, and its restoration. Her engaging portrait of this top-level predator traces the intense effort of conservation personnel to restore a species that has slipped to the verge of extinction. Beeland weaves together the voices of scientists, conservationists, and local landowners while posing larger questions about human coexistence with red wolves, our understanding of what defines this animal as a distinct species and how climate change may swamp the only place it is currently found in the wild.