State wildlife regulators are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end the reintroduction of the red wolf in the region and to remove all wolves that were released on private lands in Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Beaufort counties.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission on Thursday adopted two resolutions that cited interbreeding with coyotes, encroachment onto private lands and a failure to meet project goals as reasons to end the program in North Carolina.
The Wildlife Commission also said that 64 releases of red wolves by the Fish and Wildlife Service were intended to be done on federal land but were taken place on private land that was unauthorized. The commission said the wolves and their pups should be recaptured.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a 171-page, peer-reviewed evaluation in November 2014 to address deficiencies and determine the program’s future in eastern North Carolina, with a broader announcement on an overall decision expected in early 2015.
Red wolves were declared an endangered species in 1967 and then extinct in the wild in 1980. Some 200 red wolves are held in captive breeding facilities across the United States. One is in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina just west of the Outer Banks.