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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.

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