Conservationists push to ban coyote hunting in order to save red wolves

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Coyote hunting is killing lookalike red wolves like this one.

Three conservation groups asked a judge in a federal court Monday to stop coyote hunting in five coastal N.C. counties, saying the practice is killing lookalike red wolves.

According to the Charlotte Observer, five of the endangered wolves have been shot since mid-October.

Rewards totaling $26,000 have been offered for information on the shootings.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission allows an open hunting season on coyotes, but young red wolves resemble coyotes and are being killed because of the confusion.

The motion filed Monday asks that a U.S. District Court judge stop coyote hunting in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort counties. About a 100 red wolves run wild in these counties.

It was reported that the Wildlife Resources Commission had no immediate response.

So far this year, 14 red wolves are known to have died. Eight gunshot deaths were confirmed and two more suspected.

Killing red wolves is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Source: The Charlotte Observer


  • James

    Should require training on how to tell the difference between the two and issue hunting permits ONLY if they pass the test. You shouldn’t be shooting something if you can’t distinguish what it is for sure. All life is precious and once you take it, you can’t give it back. All good hunters know this. Just hope the rest figure it out before it’s too late.

    • FaithC

      James, I agree with you. If you can’ tell he difference between the two, you really should not be out there in he woods shooting at things.

    • William C. Ball

      James, (and you to FaithC) I hate to inform you that you have no clue what so ever of what you are talking about. Listen to this…..There is NO SUCH THING AS A RED WOLF!!!! They have been extinct for a dozen decades or more. Like Hunter stated, these so called “red wolves” are a hybrid, form western state coyotes. They so closely resemble the normal everyday variety coyote, that even the federal biologist working on the “red wolf” project cannot tell the difference between a “red wolf” and the average coyote with out up close examination.

      Please educate yourselves on a matter like this, before you go and make yourselves so ignorant.

  • Hunter

    Well they can’t tell the difference because all of the Red Wolves are Coyote Hybrids anyway. There is no such thing as a true Red Wolf any more. This has been a poorly managed situation from the start and the Red Wolf hybrid should have never been reintroduced.

  • William C. Ball

    If you would like to educate yourselves on the “Red Wolf” farce go on in eastern NC, please feel free to read up on these links.

    “Do red wolves breed with coyotes?
    The short answer is yes, they can.”

    “5.) Do red wolves hybridize with coyotes?
    Red wolves, gray wolves, domestic dogs and coyotes are capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring.”

    “However, coyotes are
    now present in the area and
    hybridization again threatens
    the Nation’s only population
    of wild red wolves”

    “Initial estimates
    indicate that the red wolf
    population in northeastern
    North Carolina would be un-
    recognizable in as few as 3-6
    generations (12 to 24 years) if
    hybridization was not con-
    trolled. Hybridization in wolves and
    similar species is poorly un-

    “Brian Kelly, Red Wolf Coordinator of Field Projects, presented current
    red wolf/coyote hybridization data from the project in northeastern
    North Carolina. Since the inception of the program in 1987, 11 hybrid
    litters have been born in the wild; 6 litters were known hybrid and 5
    were suspected. About 53 wolf litters have been born.” 1999

    “During the initial site selection process for the red wolf restoration program, the northeastern North Carolina (NENC) Red Wolf Recovery Area was uninhabited by coyotes.”

    “Currently, in addition to the ~70+ radio-collared red wolves, we are actively tracking and monitoring 60+ sterilized, placeholder coyotes.”

    Restoration effort begins with the experimental release of red wolves at ARNWR, North Carolina”

    “A total of 69 known red wolves occupied the Red Wolf Recovery Area (i.e., 1.7 million acres in five counties in northeastern North Carolina) at the end of the third quarter of our fiscal year 2013. The population includes 14 wolf packs (comprised of 45 wolves and 11 breeding pairs), and nine mixed packs (comprised of nine wolves and nine coyotes).”…rt_FY13-03.pdf

    “There are 10-15 breeding pairs or packs in the recovery area.” 1999

    Over 38,000 coyotes were taken by NC hunters and trappers in the 2010/2011 season…ionsReport.pdf

    “The current recovery goal for the species
    is 550 animals (at least 220 in the wild)”

    Or you can read these bullet points:

    – Honoring the commitments to private land owners to remove unwanted
    Red Wolves made in the 1995 Rules Revisions is not sustainable.
    – Coyotes have rapidly spread throughout the recovery area in great
    – Red wolves are readily breeding with coyotes and producing
    unaccountable numbers of hybrids throughout the state.
    – Visually, many hybrids are indistinguishable from red wolves.
    – 40% (9 of 23) of the current tracked red wolf packs contain coyotes.
    – There is an entire additional unmonitored population of wolves, hybrids,
    and coyotes whose breeding is not and can not be monitored or managed
    by your “adaptive management techniques”.
    – Almost 50% of the collared canines in the program area are coyotes, not red
    wolves. (60 coyotes and 69 wolves).
    – By 1999 more than 20% of all wolf litters were hybrid litters. Today 9 of 23
    monitored packs (40%) contain a red wolf paired with a coyote.
    – 26 years after its inception, The Red Wolf Program population in NC has
    stagnated and in fact declined in the last several years to a point which is less
    than 50% of the stated goal of 220 wolves. (90 – 100) There were more
    breeding pairs of red wolves in the recovery area in NC in 1999
    than there are today.
    -The program began in 1987 with 4 breeding pairs. There are now 11 breeding
    pairs and 9 wolves paired with sterilized coyotes! The concept that your three
    biologist can sterilize every coyote in NC which may breed with your wolves is
    as ridiculous as the claim that USFWS will remove any unwanted red wolf from
    private property. NC hunters killed over 38,000 coyotes in 2010/2011 and the
    coyote population was not deterred. USFWS has given tubal ligations
    and vasectomies to 60 coyotes. The claim that this will stop the hybridization is
    ludicrous given the quantity of coyotes that exist in eastern NC at this time.
    The Red Wolf Program has become a complete abomination
    of what was originally sold to North Carolinians. It is time that it is ended.
    – The Red Wolf Program whether successful or not is creating an entirely new
    population of hybrid canines which are larger and more destructive than their
    coyote relatives which NCWRC has virtually declared war on because of their
    disastrous impact on our wildlife. I can not imagine the number of hybrids and
    their impact on NC wildlife if the Red Wolf Program was successful. At this
    point, The Red Wolf Program has failed its stated goals, wasted millions of tax
    payer dollars and created a wildlife disaster in NC. Can we afford 26 more
    years of this????

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