Federal officials seek assistance in investigation of red wolf death

Published 7:16 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

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A federally protected red wolf was found dead in Washington County along a fence line located south of Newland Road on May 18, 2023 and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting the assistance of the public in the investigation of the red wolf’s death. According to a press release issued August 7, the red wolf was shot in the torso, causing the wolf to falter and fall where ultimately found. During a recent necropsy, the red wolf’s lungs were found to be collapsed.

USFWS is offering a reward of $5,000 for information that leads to successful prosecution in this case. Anyone with information on the death of the red wolf is urged to contact North Carolina Division of Refuge Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or Special Agent Matthew Brink at 919-856-4786 ext. 37.

“Red wolves are governed by the rules established in 1995 setting up experimental, nonessential population. This means that landowners may be allowed to remove nuisance red wolf if it attacks their livestock or pets,” stated the release. “Additionally, a red wolf that is taken incidentally to any type of otherwise legal activity (i.e. trapping coyotes following state regulations) on private lands in the red wolf recovery area does not constitute a violation of federal regulations provided that the taking is not intentional or willful and is reported to the Service within 24 hours.”

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If someone accidentally kills a red wolf, they must report it by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 1-855-4-WOLVES (1-855-496-5837). “It is important to report red wolf incidents quickly so that Service personnel can minimize conflicts and retrieve any carcasses while they are still intact,” noted the release.

To learn more about red wolves and USFWS efforts to recover them, go to fws.gov/project/red-wolf-recovery-program.