Photo credit: Stephen Nakatani
The Red Wolf, Canis rufus, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. One of the world’s rarest canids, the Red Wolf formerly ranged throughout southeastern USA, and possibly occurred as far north as Canada. Following a massive decline during the 20th century, the species was declared ‘Extinct in the Wild’ in 1980.
Historically, the Red Wolf population suffered as a result of persecution and habitat loss. Red Wolves were extensively trapped and shot, as they were believed to pose a direct threat to livestock and game. Today, hybridisation with the closely related Coyote (Canis latrans) poses the greatest threat to the species.
A highly successful recovery programme has re-introduced the Red Wolf to a 1.7 million-acre area of rural northeastern North Carolina. The wild population is currently doing well, an amazing feat considering the species was at one time ‘Extinct in the Wild’. As of March 2010, the free-ranging population numbered an estimated 100-130 individuals, with 78 radio-collared wolves in 29 packs occupying the recovery area.
To learn more about the Red Wolf, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.