ACTION ALERT: What’s Up In Red Wolf Country?

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Red wolf puppies FWS Ryan NordsvenRed wolf puppies FWS Ryan Nordsven

Something fishy is brewing in Red Wolf Country: Will the red wolf program survive?

Posted at 9:50 pm
Aug 30th

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:

1. The FWS issued this press release — perhaps the most important red wolf program press releases ever — on the Friday before Labor Day. In other words, they dumped the news in such a way as to ensure few media outlets might pick up on it right away… it’s the best strategy in the world to let the information land with a soft poof and not make many waves until after the Labor Day weekend had passed — that is, if reporters even find the release in their inboxes by then.

2. The release stated a very short window of time for people to submit comments: a mere two weeks. Comments will be closed on Sept. 12. (I can’t help but dwell on the irony of that date, as it falls so close to the 27th anniversary of the red wolf program.) When the FWS last held a 5-year review of the red wolf program in 2005, they allowed two months for comments — this time, they’re only allowing two weeks for comments, three days of which are consumed by a national Holiday!

3. The program review is being conducted by a third party, the Wildlife Management Institute. Never having heard of this organization before I googled them only to discover their Board is composed primarily of people working in sportsmen’s organizations: the Boone and Crocket Club, Pheasants Forever, ATK Security and Shooting, and Pheasants Forever. Really? This is the crew who will decide the fate of the red wolf program? A sportsmen’s wildlife management group? By awarding the contract to WMI, it appears the FWS is all but signaling its desire to cut the red wolf program off at the knees.

4. The FWS has yet to publish in the Federal Register the initiation of a program review, or their solicitation of public comments. I’m fairly sure this may be an illegal avenue to holding a review at all: their regulations require the announcement to be published in the Federal Register.

5. Nor has the FWS published in the Federal Register the two planned open houses in northeastern North Carolina, where they have announced (in the press release) that the public is welcome to offer comments on the red wolf program.

Call me cynical, but something smells awfully rotten here. Combined, all of these elements reek that the SE Regional Office is harboring intentions of either significantly changing the red wolf program or perhaps eliminating it all together. 

What can you do? Write an email attesting to your support of the red wolf recovery program. Send it to: The press release states the FWS is interested in hearing about “the public’s perspectives regarding red wolves, and red wolf recovery efforts in Eastern North Carolina . . . Interested individuals may submit comments, concerns, or information regarding the Eastern North Carolina non-essential, experimental red wolf population and the program evaluation . . .” The advocacy group The Red Wolf Coalition has posted an informative action alert on their website. I’m shamelessly cutting and pasting it below:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Red Wolf Recovery Program is currently undergoing a 60-day review, which is to be completed by 10 October 2014. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is gathering public perspective and opinion via three three methods: (1) email, (2) an online survey and (3) public focus group sessions. The future of the Recovery Program will depend to a significant degree on public input, and the red wolves are depending on YOU to be their voice. Below are ways you can show your support for red wolves and red wolf conservation.

  1. Send an email message to the Red Wolf Recovery Program at Please remember that positive comments get more attention than negative ones! Also, please be sure to send your email message by the end of business on 12 September 2014.
  2. Complete the online survey at As above, be sure to complete your survey by the end of business on 12 September 2014
  3. Plan to attend a public focus group session. Details about these sessions are not yet complete, so watch this page for future information. In the meantime, here’s what we know as of 29 August 2014:
  • The first session will be in Swan Quarter, North Carolina, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 10 September 2014, in the Mattamuskeet High School Cafeteria, which is located at 20392 U.S. Highway 264.
  • The second session will be held in Columbia, North Carolina, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, 11 September 2014, in the Columbia High School Auditorium, which is located at 902 East Main Street


Posted in: Red Wolves, Action Alert

Tags: Red wolves, Red wolf recovery program

Published in: on September 2, 2014 at 1:41 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Thank you for this update. I’ve tweeted and shared it on all of the FB pages that I administer.


  2. Message sent to Red Wolf Review. Of all the creatures on this planet, I will never understand why they chose to try to annihilate the wolf..the keeper of our Eco system, the grandfather of our family dogs. The only creature on this planet that kills for pleasure and inflicts pain for fun…is MAN…not the wolf. There is something drastically wrong with this human race.


  3. Reblogged this on Mind Chatter and commented:
    With only a mere 90 Red Wolves in the world, it is critical to their survival for us to do what we can. This short post explains the precarious position these wolves are in, and what simple things we can do while sitting on our arse to help them survive. No money asked for, just a few moments of your time. Please share this post as the closing date for input in defense of the Red Wolves is September 12th, 2014. There is not much time, so the faster this post can be passed, the more we can have an impact on the survival of these Wolves. Thanks


  4. Received reply letter from TJanes of the Center for Biological Diversity. He has some excellent ideas:

    Anne, it’s good hearing from you again. I hope all is going well for you. I’ve forwarded this and your other message today to some of our wolf campaigners. One of them wrote back with an interesting suggestion you may interested in, particularly since you keep yourself up to date on wolf issues.

    She suggested that you might want to consider the following:

    An easy activity that would help promote tolerance for and understanding about wolves – which is what they need most – would be for her to write letters to the media to respond to articles about wolves. This is something I always encourage people to do no matter where they live. Frequently print media as well as online media contain stories about wolves. Often it is about controversy – i.e., the battle in Michigan to stop the wolf hunts, the battle in Washington to get the state wildlife agency to use lethal control of wolves for livestock depredations only as a last resort and to require ranches to have used nonlethal methods to protect their livestock, the battle we had in California the last two years to get wolves protected under the state endangered species act, etc., etc. Any time an article appears in a publication that has a print and online edition, she should write a letter to the editor in response. The public needs to see letters written by general members of the public who support wolves, not just people who work for conservation groups.

    Any time she sees an article that focus on negative attributes of wolves, she should write a letter to speak of their positive attributes, their critical role in nature, their highly social nature, how they can live wherever people will tolerate them.

    Any time she sees an article that focuses on the positive attributes of wolves, she should write in to support those statements.

    This might sound trivial but it’s needed.

    Of course, she’s thinking of main-stream publications where you can reach an audience which has never thought about wolves beyond Disney’s Three Little Pigs.

    Tim A. Janes

    Membership Associate

    Center for Biological Diversity

    520.345.5718 Direct Line


    • I wrote back to him: Good morning…and thank you. I have written so many times to all the governors in all the states…only because I don’t know any other addresses. I think that if Gov. Otter ever met me, he’d probably shoot me on sight. I only hear about the torturous inflictions on the wolves through websites such as Word Press (Howling for Justice), sometimes organizations will email me with an update of a wolf ‘event’. On top of writing to the blind/deaf governors (of the states) I do post on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Care2. I was so disappointed to find out that Defenders of Wildlife actually believe in killing wolves.

      Is there any site that lists the different newspapers of different towns in the states? I would love to be able to write to them individually. I know many others who would follow suit, but our problem is we are limited in the knowledge of access to places to send our letters.

      Good to hear from you. Thank you once again for responding. God bless you and all of Biological Diversity staff. I am sure that Mother Earth smiles when she hears your name.

      Thank you again,


  5. Reblogged this on Exposing the Big Game.


  6. I really, really, really hope that the Red Wolf Recovery program is not ended! The critically endangered Red Wolf needs the protection provided by this program! If this recovery program is ended and the wolves are removed from the wild then it will be the second time that this species goes extinct in the wild during modern history!

    I did my part to make sure that the recovery program is continued! I conducted a petition at my college and submitted it as my response for the public commenting period! I hope that everyone else will do the same and let the USFWS know that you support Red Wolf recovery!

    Save the Red Wolves!


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