The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina just ruled in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must develop a plan by March 1 of this year to resume its longstanding and successful practice of releasing captive red wolves into the Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina. The court order temporarily prohibits the agency from implementing its recent policy change barring release of captive wolves into the wild. As few as seven red wolves remain in the wild today.
In the fall of 2020, SELC sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act caused by these new, illegal agency policies that bar the use of proven management measures to save wild red wolves. The suit was filed on behalf of Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute. Days later, SELC filed for a motion for preliminary injunction.
“Contrary to the Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent actions, this order confirms once again that the Endangered Species Act requires recovery of the red wolf in the wild,” said Senior Attorney Sierra Weaver. “The agency has to stop managing for extinction and instead take meaningful action to rebuild the wild red wolf population in North Carolina.”