Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red Wolves Threatened in their North Carolina Homeland

Red wolf

It has been twenty years since a conservation program to restore the rare red wolf, a smaller cousin of the mighty gray wolf, from the brink of extinction in the state of North Carolina. But now, these truly unique and rare subspecies are being persecuted by the locals resulting in their decline. At one time, red wolves ranged throughout the southeastern corners of U.S but years of persecution dwindled their population.  They are now found nowhere else but in the state of North Carolina. Just like it's larger relative, the red wolf is facing persecution as of now by local residents as a vermin. In addition to humans, other threats include vehicle collisions and cases of mistaken identities where hunters and landowners mistake these wolves for coyotes (North American equivalents of jackals). Yet surprisingly, during the early stages of restoring the red wolf population, conservationists mated the surviving individuals with coyotes. This led to some critics believing that red wolves are not genuine wolves, but coyote-hybrids.

I can just hope and pray that the conservation effort to repopulate the red wolf population comes up with some solutions to prevent the species (or subspecies) from continuing to dwindle. Maybe one way to prevent such a downfall would be to educate the public about the animals, and what roles they play in the native ecosystems. It would also help to how to distinguish these canids from coyotes. This is because the red wolf is one of the most critically endangered species in the U.S. Without its existence, how will the wilderness areas of North Carolina be able maintain their ecological balance. The only other "predators" in North America are black bears, foxes, bobcats and coyotes, who tend to have more omnivorous feeding habits than the red wolves.

View article here

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