HOWL Colorado

Red wolf reintroduction tells a story of hope, and caution

The critically endangered red wolf was all but extinct, but is now – along with the golden lion tamarin – a cited example of how humans can bring a species back from the brink through breeding programs and reintroduction to the wild.

In the year 1980, the red wolf was almost extinct after the last wild red wolf died.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service persisted with a program which culminated with a re-emergence of a wild population of red wolves in 1992. Reintroduction programs have given red wolves a chance, in North Carolina, to recover.

Red wolves are smaller than their gray cousins, but larger than coyotes. They are usually around 50 lbs and generally not red. They are still considered extremely endangered. Interbreeding with coyotes has given the red wolf a way to survive, but obviously the resulting offspring are no longer true red wolves.

Their future is still very much in the balance, but even still, they stand as a beacon for the potential positive impacts humans can have in repairing the damage done through hunting and environmental devastation of these animals’ habitat.

And yet, these animals are still faced with a dilemma. The lack of education, and the general intolerance despite their near extermination, is still a challenge the red wolves must overcome.

Jason Parent wrote an article on the website suite 101, which covers this topic in some detail – including things to be done now to continue their resurrection – and you can read the full thing by clicking here.

It is the goal of many, including HOWLColorado, to encourage Americans to embrace their role as guardians of their flora and fauna and to learn how to co-exist.

This story is not unfamiliar, but most species don’t get a second chance. And some, such as the mexican gray wolf,  are on the verge of following the exact same path. There is nothing more disturbing that seeing the influence, and short-sightedness, of humans lead to the premature extinction of any species.

They can seem so blissfully unaware of the damage they are causing to an entire ecosystem.

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