Local News

State red wolf protection program under review

Posted September 11, 2014

— Advocates for a nearly 30 year-old North Carolina red wolf experiment met with upset landowners Wednesday for the first of two public meeting that are likely to help decide the wolves’ future in the state.

One-by-one, people stepped through the doors of Mattamuskeet High School Cafeteria in Swan Quarter of Hyde County. Some were there to show support for the Red Wolf Recovery Program; others said they wished the wolves would go away.

Landowners in the five-county area where the wolves were first released decades ago say the red wolves have bred with coyotes, and most have wandered off the federal lands, killing wildlife on private farms.

The Red Wolf Recovery Program originally released four breeding pairs in Dare County in 1987.

“Who wants to see the red wolf gone, by show of hands?” said Roger Seale. “I’m against them because they’ve eat up all of the wildlife.”

Advocates of the program say it is the species’ last hope.

“Red wolves have reclaimed a small part of their birthright in North Carolina,” said Janet Hoben.

The Wildlife Management Institute is reviewing the impact of the red wolf in eastern North Carolina. A report is expected next month.

Leopoldo Miranda, assistant regional director of ecological services with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the review would determine next steps for the program.

While the wolf proves a divisive issue in the community, both sides seem to agree that the evaluation is a bit dubious.

"How do we know you'll be neutral in this?" one participant asked.

Jeff Mittelstadt, a documentary producer specializing in human/wildlife conflicts, hopes the study reveals some common ground.

"When you concentrate on that common ground, you have a better chance of finding solutions," he said.

A second public session was held in Columbia Thursday at Columbia High School. The public comment period ends Friday.


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  • Grand Union Sep 12, 2014

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    When was the last time anyone was killed by a wolf in NC??? or anywhere in the US? Fact is there are very few of these wolves and if anything the balance is way to much in mans favor. many Farmers traditionally like killing all predators...usually completely indescriminately, because they compete for the game they can sell shooting rights for, or they like shooting and eating themselves.

  • veryfrustrated1 Sep 12, 2014

    I am curious as to how many of the posters here would genuinely like to have a red wolf population introduced in their own backyard. While I would like to support the red wolf, I cannot say honestly say I would be pleased to have them on my property.

  • btneast Sep 12, 2014

    They normally only take what they need to eat. Hunters and landowners who say they are killing of ALL wildlife or farm stock have no clue what they are talking about Oh I don't know, maybe these farmers who live daily with the wolves are basing their claims on first hand, direct experience of many years? To assume that wolves are beautiful, noble creatures that only kill what they need and leave everything else alone is foolish and can get you killed. I am in no way for eradication of wolves, they have a place in this world, but it needs to be in balance.

  • Lisa Marie Fields Sep 12, 2014
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    If these people know so much about wildlife, why did the mortality from gunshot red wolves go down when they outlawed shooting coyotes? People need to educate themselves, the wildlife is still out there, just because they don't see them doesn't mean they are not here, it's wildlife they don't want to be seen. Wolves also cull out the old and the sick animal which helps the others thrive. LEAVE THE WOLVES ALONE!!!!

  • Christopher Byrne Sep 12, 2014
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    What a valiant effort to bring this species back and I support it. However, the red wolf does look very much like the coyote which has established itself eastward to the sandhills as a pest, hurting ground bird populations as well as hunting family pets. To the untrained eye the red wolf is being killed as a coyote. And as I heard in the forum, sounds like there were a lot of "untraineds" out there.

  • John McCray Sep 12, 2014
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    No, I understand, I think the issue in the more southern cases of the coywolf were a result of increased pressure from habitat reduction if I remember correctly. My apologies, one I don't currently have the time to review the Nature production, and two, I sometimes don't put down my entire thought on these posts leading to ambivalence as to my whole thought.

  • Lorna Schuler Sep 12, 2014
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    Wolves and coyotes have been mating/cross breeding for decades across the Americas and Europe. They are not natural enemies per se, but wolves have been know to take out coyote populations in some areas. Dogs can and do also mate w/either coyotes or wolves.

    They normally only take what they need to eat. Hunters and landowners who say they are killing of ALL wildlife or farm stock have no clue what they are talking about. They would have to be overrun with packs for that to happen.

  • bigsky59 Sep 12, 2014

    I've seen scientific papers contradicting some of what was stated in the PBS coywolf special, for instance the "only in Canada" hybridization angle.

    Google red wolf coyote hybrid to find other info.

  • Christopher Rose Sep 12, 2014
    user avatar

    I normally try to be a common ground type on these issues. But I have to throw my support to the red wolf. These local hunters can go get food at a grocery store. The wolf can't. And by predation they selectively breed the deer for a better quality animal for the hunters. And if you manage your livestock right, wolves are not a problem. In fact I wish we'd get some wolves up this way. It would help keep the deer overpopulation in check. Might even take care of the ferel cat and dog problem.

  • Linda Kerns Kellogg Sep 12, 2014
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    I support this restoration effort. Wolves have historically been misunderstood and vilified by humans and the media. These are beautiful animals that deserve a habitat.