Sierra magazine

Can the Red Wolf Survive Extinction a Second Time?

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the last 14 pure red wolves from the wild with plans to breed them in captivity and repopulate the landscape. Seven years later, four males and four females were released on the Albermarle Peninsula in North Carolina. After reaching a peak population of about 130 animals by 2006, gunshot and vehicular collisions have cut their numbers to just two dozen. The USFWS is now poised to abandon efforts to save them, this time with no plan for how, when, or where to reunite red wolves with their natural habitat.