Red wolves (Canis rufus)- the world’s most endangered wolf species and closely related to coyotes – may soon go extinct in the wild if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) decides to end the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The FWS recently initiated a 60-day review of the red wolf  recovery program in North Carolina apparently at the behest of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, which has proven to be no friend of red wolves or of other predators.

With fewer than 100 red wolves remaining in the wild, we need your help to ensure that this highly imperiled species has a future. The FWS is now gathering feedback from the public about how much they value red wolf recovery, via three methods: 1) email; 2) an online survey; and 3) public focus group sessions on September 10 and 11.

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.

What You Can Do (you do not need to be a NC resident to weigh in on this issue as this is a federal program):

1. Please email redwolfreview@fws.gov by September 12, and let the FWS know that you support efforts to recover red wolves and that you want to see the Red Wolf Recovery Program persist and expanded to ensure long-term recovery of red wolves into their historical range.

2. Take a moment to fill out this online survey by September 12:  http://jgassett.polldaddy.com/s/red-wolf-restoration-recovery-program.

Points to include in your letters and in the comments section of the survey:

  • As apex predators, red wolves are vital for healthy and diverse ecosystems.
  • The FWS should add additional reintroduction sites in the Southeast based on the red wolf’s historical range.
  • Future generations deserve to be able to see red wolves in the wild.
  • The FWS is legally obligated under the Endangered Species Act to both recover red wolves and to follow the best science — not political pressure.

PLEASE NOTE: Question #8 in the survey is flawed! There is no option to say “None of the above” if you think that none of the choices apply. We suggest that you leave the choices ranked as they are and do not change the order. It is critically important to identify this error in Q.11 of the survey.

3) Please consider attending one of the public focus group sessions being held in NC:

When: Wednesday, September 10 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Swan Quarter, North Carolina, in the Mattamuskeet High School Cafeteria located at 20392 US Highway 264.

When: Thursday, September 11 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where:  Columbia, North Carolina in the Columbia High School’s Auditorium, located at 902 Main Street.

These focus groups will likely be targeted by highly vocal people opposed to keeping red wolves in North Carolina, so please speak up and voice your support for the red wolf recovery program.

Thank you so much for speaking up for red wolves and please share this alert with friends, family and colleagues! Let’s not give up on this species whose fate lies in our hands.

Photo credits: both images © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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