Red wolves will be released into the wild again in North Carolina
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.
- Around three dozen wild wolves currently range in five counties (Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington), according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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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