Manteo 'Howling Safaris' bring visitors closer to nature

Posted July 15, 2011 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated July 15, 2011 7:13 p.m. EDT

— The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is a place not many get to go after dark. But on Wednesday nights, refuge staff members take about 80 people into the woods to hear the Red Wolf howl.

Bill Reichling and his grandchildren Emily and Alex Reichling were among those hoping to hear a wolf and possibly see a bear. Visitors howl at the moon and then quietly wait to hear a response.

“Let’s put it this way, I’m an apprentice of nature,” Bill Reichling said.

The refuge range covers more then 150,000 acres, and a late evening drive on dusty roads can yield amazing results.

“I've never seen a bear, except in the zoo. It's pretty cool,” Emily said.

Bears are cool, but Red Wolves just might be cooler. The Alligator River Refuge is the only place in the world they exist in the wild, but the chances of seeing one are slim.

The Red Wolf Howling Safaris are about two hours long and are held at 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday through the end of August. Visitors are encouraged to bring flashlights and insect repellent. Safaris are $7 per person. Children 12 and under get in free.

This story is part of WRAL's summer travel series, "Nooks and Crannies," which airs every Friday in WRAL's News at 5:30 p.m.