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Red Wolves

Until recently red wolves had become virtually extinct. Until almost 100 years ago red wolves had roamed from the central U.S. all the way up to New England and down as far as Florida. By the time that scientists realized that there was a major problem with the red wolves they were almost extinct. "The red wolf is thefirst effort to restore a predator in the wild after it was officially declared extinct in the wild," said Bud Fazio, team leader of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Recovery Program.
Not very much was ever known about the actual population numbers of the red wolf in the past, but it is believed that the numbers started to drastically fall when the Europeans started to settle heavily from Texas east. Eventually hunting and trapping took its toll before the reproduction process could catch up. Records show that in the late 1700's North Carolina's courts would pay bounties for the red wolves, and by 1970 the red wolf population had nose-dived near extinction, leaving one hundred estimated wolves dwelling a small area in Texas.
Since conservationists and the Fish and Wildlife Service took action a little over 15 years ago the red wolf population is on the rise. Through a captive breeding program on two islands (Bulls Island, S.C. and St. Vincent's Island, Fl.) the predators are now off the endangered species list, and about 100 roam free here in North Carolina. Scientists have been able to closely monitor this through radio collars and field scientists.
The problem that arose from introducing the wolves back into the wilderness was two fold. Not only was there a problem with some citizens who disapproved of the reentrance of the wolves, coyotes were starting to cross breed with them. Since those problems were identified The Fish and Wildlife Service have been rounding up the hybrid wolves and coyotes to have them sterilized before reentrance in to the wild, as for the ci…

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