Letter: Reader says it’s time to recommit to region’s red wolf population 

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, May 12, 2018

The red wolf desperately needs support from us, especially the residents in the five-county red wolf recovery area. Last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service released documents outlining the science and history of the red wolf recovery effort. These documents revealed that our government leaders are failing the red wolf.  

In 1987, Brindled Hope, a female, was the first captive-bred red wolf released into the wild to produce pups. After only 20 years, the wild population reached a documented 151 wolves, earning the program the recognition as the first successful carnivore reintroduction effort.  

Following that great success, though, complacency set in. Two anti-wolf landowners took over the issue, and today fewer than 40 of the 151 wolves remain. Although they and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission clearly strong-armed the FWS into abandoning the program, I believe this minority does not speak for the rest of us in the red wolf recovery area.   

I feel that most people are proud to have these beautiful, shy red wolves living wild in our state. Red wolves and people have shown over the past few decades they can live peacefully and successfully as neighbors.   

We need to start talking with each other again about the recovery program and the pride we should take in our natural heritage. We should also take a more vocal role and encourage the FWS to recommit to the species.  

It is time for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to start reintroducing more red wolves into the recovery area to breed and live with the many descendants of Brindled Hope and those red wolves released with her. The red wolves, as larger canids, will help control the coyote population, as well as contribute to tourism in the area. The FWS should also address poaching and do a better job of communicating with the many locals that want to see the red wolf thrive.   

The red wolf is an American treasure and deserves our pride and protection. 

Carolyn Leopard, Manteo