About 100 Red Wolves roam a five-county area of northeastern North Carolina, as part of a federal program started in 1987 aimed at restoring the rare species. Red Wolves were once common throughout the Southeastern U.S., but clashes with the human population and bounties on the animals drove their numbers down sharply by the early 1900s. Red Wolves were declared extinct in the wild in 1980.
Today, North Carolina's Red Wolves have federal protection, but at least nine have been shot this year. One problem is, hunters confuse them with coyotes, prompting calls for North Carolina to suspend coyote hunting where the wolves live.
WFAE's Mark Rumsey spoke with David Rabon, coordinator of the Red Wolf Recovery Program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.