Federal Officials Request Assistance in Sixth Gunshot Red Wolf Reward up to $26,000

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is requesting assistance with an
investigation involving the suspected illegal take of a sixth red wolf in
the last four weeks. In the latest death, the federally protected wolf’s
body was recovered from private property north of the Town of Swanquarter,
in western Hyde County, North Carolina, on Tuesday, November 19, 2013. The
red wolf’s body had an apparent gunshot wound.

Anyone with information that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal
conviction, a civil penalty assessment, or forfeiture of property on the
subject or subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of a red
wolf may be eligible for a reward.

Pledged contributions from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, Red Wolf
Coalition, Humane Society of the United States, and the Center for
Biological Diversity have increased the reward amount for information on
the suspected illegal take of the six radio-collared red wolves, five of
which that were found dead in the last month in Hyde, Washington, and
Tyrrell counties, North Carolina. Note: Only the cut-off radio collar was
found from one of those wolves. A person providing essential information
that directly leads to an arrest, a criminal conviction, on the subject or
subjects responsible for the suspected unlawful take of one of these red
wolves may be eligible for a combined reward of up to $26,000. Individual
organizations pledging contributions will determine eligibility for payment
of any reward.

A total of 14 red wolves have died since January 1, 2013. Of those 14,
three were struck and killed by vehicles, one died as a result of
non-management related actions, one was undetermined but appears to be the
result of suspected illegal take, and nine were confirmed or suspected
gunshot deaths.

The red wolf is protected under The Endangered Species Act. The maximum
criminal penalties for the unlawful taking of a red wolf are one year
imprisonment and $100,000 fine per individual. Anyone with information on
the death of this red wolf or any others, past or future, is urged to
contact Resident Agent in Charge John Elofson at (404) 763-7959, Refuge
Officer Frank Simms at (252) 216-7504, or North Carolina Wildlife Resources
Commission Officer Robert Wayne at (252) 216-8225.

BACKGROUND:

The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once
common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations have
been decimated due to intensive predator control programs and loss of
habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf Coast
of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in
1967, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves
as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became
the founders of a successful zoo-based breeding program. Consequently, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in
1980.

The first litter of red wolves born in captivity occurred in 1977. By
1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration
program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North
Carolina. Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to
include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing
range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7
million acres.

About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five northeastern North
Carolina counties. Additionally, nearly 200 red wolves comprise the
Species Survival Plan managed breeding program in sites across the United
States, still an essential element of red wolf recovery.

The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other
being the gray wolf, (*Canis* *lupus*). As their name suggests, red wolves
are known for the characteristic reddish color of their fur most apparent
behind the ears and along the neck and legs, but are mostly brown and buff
colored with some black along their backs. Intermediate in size to gray
wolves and coyotes, the average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands
about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about four feet long from the tip of
the nose to the end of the tail.

Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding
pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight
animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon,
rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk
and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human
activity.

To learn more about red wolves and the Service’s efforts to recover them,
please visit www.fws.gov/redwolf.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to
conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on
our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect
with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our
tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at
http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.

# # #
--
*Tom R. MacKenzie*
Media Relations Specialist and Native American Liaison
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southeast Region
1875 Century Blvd Ste 410
Atlanta, GA 30345-3319
404-679-7291 Fax:404-679-7286 Cell: 678-296-6400
http://www.fws.gov/southeast
tom_mackenzie@fws.gov

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