Captive Breeding and Reintroduction of the Red Wolf
The red wolf (Canis rufus) is a canid native to North America that is larger than a coyote but not quite as large as the closely related grey wolf. They have a long course coat that is reddish behind their ears and along their neck and legs with black running along their backs. They stand about 26 inches at the shoulders, and they can weigh 45 to 80 pounds. They function socially in what’s known as a pack which consists of an adult breeding pair, who often mates for life, and their offspring of different years. Their offspring will eventually reach a level of maturity and branch off to create their own pack. These creatures were once common throughout the eastern and south central United States, roaming all the way from Massachusetts to Texas. Today they are one of the world’s most endangered canids. Thanks to efforts being made by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, despite some obstacles and possible threats, the future of these beautiful animals is looking bright.
As a result of predator control programs and the degradation and alteration of the species natural habitat, the red wolf population was nearly diminished by the early 20th century. The red wolf was designated an endangered species in 1967. Soon after, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began their efforts to conserve the species, because it is important to save all members of an ecosystem, including predators. In 1973, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiated efforts to locate and capture the remaining pure bred red wolves. There was a small group of 17 wolves located in the Louisiana and Texas coastal area. Of the 17 remaining wolves, 14 were captured and became the founders of the captive breeding program. From 1980 to 1987 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the red wolf to be extinct in the wild. Today there are more than 100 red wolves...