The last wild red wolves are safe—for now

The last wild red wolves are safe—for now

By Julia DeVito, digital campaigner

The last 35 red wolves on the planet are safe from extinction—for now.

Jean-Eduoard Rozey via Shutterstock

On Nov. 5, 2018, a federal judge decided to protect these wolves with a
ruling that the temporary injunction issued by the Obama administration in 2016 that stopped a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)’s “shoot-to-kill” authorization will not be permanent. That means that the FWS has to prove the red wolf is a threat to humans or livestock before the agency can decide to take its life.

This is a huge victory for this rare species. And it comes after thousands of Environmental Action members like you raised their voices earlier this year to protect these creatures on the brink of extinction.

But there are only 35 red wolves left on the planet. And there’s a lot
of work to do to make sure they’re around for generations to come.

The math didn’t bode well for red wolves

In June, the FWS announced a dangerous plan that would have
shrunk the wolves’ protected habitat to just one undersized refuge
in North Carolina, with enough room for just 15 wolves. Yes, you
read that right: 15.

That math didn’t bode well for the red wolf. More than 80 red wolves were shot and killed illegally between 1988 and 2013. Without legal protection, we would certainly lose even more wolves— and there are precious few left.

Back from extinction

In fact, in 1980, the red wolf was declared extinct in the wild. Today’s red wolves, the descendants of wolves reintroduced into the wild from captivity, represent a rare second chance for an endangered species—beating the odds thanks to critical protections that kept them safe.

Collective action to protect these precious creatures—now and into the future

Tens of thousands of Environmental Action supporters spoke up for red wolves, telling the FWS that the red wolf’s natural habitat should remain a safe place for wolves to live and thrive. The FWS’ proposed new management plan for North Carolina’s red wolves would have driven these vulnerable animals to extinction.

Now we can rest assured: the courts agree! The last 35 wild red wolves are safe. For now.

But with so few left, we need to keep doing everything in our power to preserve and protect red wolves so that our children, grandchildren and their children will know red wolves exist.