USFWS delays publication of final revised red wolf recovery plan

Published 12:15 pm Monday, March 20, 2023

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it is delaying the publication of the final revised red wolf recovery plan to ensure it has adequate time to use the results of a forthcoming population viability analysis (PVA) for informing the final revised recovery plan for the red wolf. The original, court-ordered publication date of Feb. 28, 2023 will now be extended to Sept. 29, 2023.

In 1982, USFWS completed the first Red Wolf Recovery Plan; revisions were issued in 1984 and in 1990. In September 2022, a draft revised recovery plan for the red wolf was published. It was produced by the Red Wolf Recovery Team, a collaborative partnership with federal and state agencies, tribal representatives, county government, academia, zoos/conservation centers, non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations and landowners. The plan incorporated the current status of the species and new information gathered over the last three decades. It was made available for public comment for 30 days.

During the public comment period, USFWS received requests to incorporate additional scientific information that will be informed by a forthcoming PVA, according to a USFWS press release. “The Service anticipates receiving that PVA in June 2023,” stated the release. “After thoroughly analyzing the results of the PVA, the Service will then be able to incorporate the additional requested information into the recovery plan before it is finalized.

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“To promote and support the conservation and survival of endangered and threatened species, and provide a transparent path to achieving recovery, the Service works with others to develop and implement recovery plans,” the release continued. “Recovery plans are unique to each species and serve as central organizing tools that provide important guidance on recovery, such as what recovery looks like for the species and a general strategy for achieving recovery. Recovery plans also identify measurable and objective criteria against which progress toward recovery of a species can be tracked over time. Recovery plans are guidance and not regulatory documents, and no agency or entity is required by the Endangered Species Act to implement actions in a recovery plan.”

According to the release, the ultimate goals of red wolf recovery are to ensure that: (1) red wolves coexist with humans in multiple wild, free and viable populations across the historic range; (2) threats are managed through conservation activities and alignment of conservation policy; and (3) increased public trust and community engagement are realized. When recovery of the species is achieved, USFWS will consider removing it from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife and turn its management over to the appropriate states and tribes.

“A final revised recovery plan for the red wolf will use the best available science to chart a path forward for the species within its historic range. The plan will prioritize collaborative conservation by engaging stakeholders in management to mitigate threats to the species on the basis of shared understanding and expectations for the species’ recovery,” stated the release. “Collaborative conservation is foundational to the successful recovery of the red wolf, and the Service will continue to strive to align our work with the needs of communities and stakeholders involved in red wolf recovery.”

For more information on the red wolf, go to and