UNITED STATES NEWS

US commits to releasing more endangered red wolves into the wild, settling lawsuit

Aug 9, 2023, 1:51 PM

The U.S. government will settle a lawsuit with conservation groups and commit to releasing more endangered red wolves into the wilds of North Carolina, where nearly three dozen of the canine species are believed to still run free.

The conservation groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2020 after it stopped releasing captive-bred wolves. Eastern North Carolina is the only place in the world where they roam wild outside of zoos and wildlife refuges.

The Southern Environmental Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and the Animal Welfare Institute. A settlement agreement was reached Wednesday, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina.

“For 25 years, North Carolina was home to one of the most successful predator reintroductions in the world,” Ramona McGee, a Southern Environmental Law Center attorney, said in a statement. “This settlement puts us on a path to restoring the red wolf to its rightful place as a celebrated success story.”

Red wolves once occupied much of the Eastern U.S. but were driven to near extinction by trapping, hunting and habitat loss before they were reintroduced to North Carolina in 1987. Their range is limited to five North Carolina counties. Scientists at zoos and other sites have maintained a captive population of nearly 300 wolves in recent years.

After red wolves were reintroduced, the state’s wild population grew beyond 100 and remained stable through 2012.

Wolf numbers were bolstered by releases of captive-born pups and sterilization of coyotes that competed for space. But those approaches were halted in 2015 amid pressure from conservative politicians and landowners who deemed wolves a nuisance.

Red wolves are in an area dominated by farms and private land. At least 96 red wolves died of gunshot wounds over the decades.

Some landowners have said that the wolves have made it harder to fight coyotes. A federal judge in 2014 banned night hunting of coyotes in red wolf territory because the canines are easily mixed up.

By the time conservation groups filed their 2020 lawsuit, they said there could be as few as seven red wolves living in the wild. The groups argued that federal wildlife officials violated the Endangered Species Act through actions that included halting the release of captive-bred wolves in 2015.

The lawsuit prompted a federal judge in 2021 to order the Fish and Wildlife Service to produce a plan to bolster the wild wolves’ numbers as the lawsuit continued.

U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle noted in his order that the conservation groups were likely to succeed, while demonstrating that “extinction is a very real possibility.”

According to the settlement agreement, the Fish and Wildlife Service will develop and publish red wolf release plans for a period of eight years. The plans will include “metrics that can be used to measure performance.”

The agency wrote that it “acknowledges the importance of the Eastern North Carolina red wolf population” and committed to managing in a way that’s consistent with the Endangered Species Act.

As of June, the Fish and Wildlife Service said there 16 known or collared red wolves living in the wild, while estimating the total wild population to be 32 to 34. There were 278 red wolves in the captive population.

Johanna Hamburger, a senior attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute, said in a statement Wednesday that the agreement “pulls wild red wolves back from the brink of extinction.”

“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.

United States News

FILE - Leaders take their seats for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO summit in...

Associated Press

With words, deeds and arms deals, allies make the case for NATO in terms that would appeal to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — European allies in NATO are stepping up their military spending, just as Donald Trump wanted. They’re pointing to common interests, such as concerns over China. They’re creating American jobs by buying U.S. weapons. In words, deeds and arms deals, leaders of the United States’ partners in NATO are making the case for […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

The UN condemns increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace, stability and security in the country and the region. Friday’s resolution expresses grave concern at illegal arms and ammunition flowing into Haiti and their link […]

7 hours ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Inside the courtroom as case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday without a verdict but with tears of relief for the actor and a small coterie of family who had settled into a somber daily routine on wooden benches inside a windowless New Mexico […]

7 hours ago

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a speech during the opening of the High-L...

Associated Press

UN chief urges funds for Palestinians, saying Israel is forcing Gazans ‘to move like human pinballs’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief appealed for funding Friday for the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, accusing Israel of issuing evacuation orders that force Palestinians “to move like human pinballs across a landscape of destruction and death.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a donor’s […]

9 hours ago

Meals on Wheels employees take advantage of an assembly line to prepare bags of food for clients, F...

Associated Press

Houston community groups strain to keep feeding and cooling a city battered by repeat storms

HOUSTON (AP) — The deafening hum of a generator was a welcome noise Thursday evening at a Houston independent living center where several dozen seniors had lost power in the wake of Hurricane Beryl. Joe and Terri Hackl, who had pulled up with the backup electricity source after delivering hundreds of meals all day, estimate […]

10 hours ago

Twin sisters Jo and Joy Banner pose for a photograph in front of their business, Fee-Fo-Lay Café, ...

Associated Press

Historically Black Cancer Alley town splits over a planned grain terminal in Louisiana

WALLACE, La. (AP) — Sisters Jo and Dr. Joy Banner live just miles from where their ancestors were enslaved more than 200 years ago in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Their tidy Creole cottage cafe in the small, river-front town of Wallace lies yards away from property their great-grandparents bought more than a century […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

US commits to releasing more endangered red wolves into the wild, settling lawsuit