By Michael Graham Richard
This needs to stop before it's too late.
The Red Wolf is classified as "Critically Endangered" by the IUCN's Red List of Endangered Species, with two out of three sub-species already extinct and only 90 to 100 individuals left in the third. To say that it is on the brink of extinction and needs protection is almost an understatement.
But things are not going well. Just this year, 9 red wolves have been killed. Just this week, authorities in North-Carolina has found 2 animals that have been shot, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put out a $26,000 reward for any information that would help its investigation.
"The actions of a few ignorant, misguided criminals have severely crippled the recovery of one of the rarest animals in the United States," said said Brett Hartl with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re adding $10,000 to the reward in the hope that someone with information about these terrible killings will step forward. But we also need the Fish and Wildlife Service to step up its law-enforcement and outreach efforts to stem this surging tide of poaching.”
But to complicate things, not all of the killings might have been intentional (though we can't know for sure) because the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission authorized coyote hunting in the Red Wolf Recovery Area—including night hunting by spotlight—and it’s possible that hunters might have mistaken some red wolves for coyotes. Stopping this practice immediately, at least in the area where the red wolves live, would give them a better chance of survival. Photos.