Happy (Red Wolf) Anniversary!
Sepember 2021 marks the 34th anniversary of the return of the red wolf to a portion of its historical range. Thirty-four years ago, eight red wolves were released at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. This marked the beginning of many red wolf “firsts”:
- first predator ever to be restored to the wild after becoming biologically extinct throughout its entire range;
- first recovery program to use the relaxed protocol of the experimental nonessential designation of an endangered species;
- first use of the “soft release” technique, meaning captive-born red wolves were acclimated to their new home in the wild by living in large holding enclosures for awhile;
- first restoration effort to use captive-born animals that successfully adapted to life in the wild;
- first recovery program to use the “cross fostering” technique where captive born pups are raised by wild parents.