Aug 11, 2023 - News

Red wolves will be released into the wild again in North Carolina

Captive red wolves at the Museum of Life + Science in Durham. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The U.S. government will release more endangered red wolves into Eastern North Carolina after settling a lawsuit with conservation groups, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Eastern North Carolina is the only place in the world where red wolves roam wild due to a reintroduction plan by the government that started in 1987.

Driving the news: The government stopped reintroducing the wolves in 2015, after landowners complained about the wolves being a nuisance and up to 96 wolves have been shot and killed over the years.

  • Since then, the population has dwindled to an estimated 32.
  • The Southern Environmental Law Center sued the government for halting the program. Now, under a new settlement agreement, it will resume.

What they're saying: The agreement "pulls wild red wolves back from the brink of extinction," Johanna Hamburger, an attorney for the Animal Welfare Institute, said in a statement to the AP.

  • "When we filed this lawsuit, scientists warned that if the (Fish and Wildlife Service) continued down that path, red wolves could be extinct in the wild by 2024," she said.
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