RALEIGH, N.C. -- Conservation groups are suing North Carolina wildlife regulators, saying a rule that allows coyote hunting endangers the world's only wild population of about 100 red wolves because hunters easily confuse the two animals.
An attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court on behalf of three other groups.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission in July approved a permanent regulation allowing coyote hunting in the five-county area of eastern North Carolina that's known as the Red Wolf Recovery Area. A state judge earlier blocked a temporary rule allowing the hunting in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington and Beaufort counties.
The Southern Environmental Law Center says 20 red wolves have died from gunshots since 2008.
A wildlife commission spokesman declined comment until the agency receives the lawsuit.