NORTH CAROLINA-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said the year is off to a bad start for the protected red wolf.
Monday, state and federal officials announced an investigation has begun on the suspected illegal take of a radio-collared red wolf that was found dead from a gunshot wound last Tuesday, January 7 in Tyrrell County, which is southwest of Columbia, N.C.
This is the first red wolf death of 2014.
Wildlife officials said 14 wild red wolves were known to have died in 2013 including three that were hit and killed by vehicles. Of those killed, one death was the result of non-management related actions, and nine confirmed or suspected gunshot deaths. The cause of the remaining wolf's death is currently undetermined.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission released the following in a news statement: The red wolf is protected under the Endangered Species Act as an experimental, non-essential population. This means that relaxed regulations allow landowners to kill a red wolf if it attacks their livestock or pets. Additionally, a red wolf that is taken incidentally to any type of legal activity (e.g., hunting coyotes following state regulations) on private lands in the red wolf recovery area does not constitute a violation of the federal regulation, provided that the taking is not intentional or willful, and is reported to the Service or the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission within 24 hours.
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.