Conservation groups today notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of their intent to sue the agency for its failure to protect the world’s only wild population of red wolves, and for its illegal action in authorizing the killing of a breeding female red wolf. The conservation groups are the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI); they are represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center. According to the Service’s own estimates, the world’s only wild population of red wolves has declined by as much as half of what it was only a year ago, when an estimated 100 red wolves lived within the five-county red wolf recovery area in northeastern North Carolina.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has violated the law and its responsibility to protect the world’s only wild population of red wolves which now numbers only 50-75 animals,” said Sierra Weaver, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents conservation groups in the 60-day notice of intent to sue the agency. “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must rededicate itself to ensuring the survival of America’s rarest wolf and restore the former successful recovery of this endangered species.”
Following the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement in June of its authorization of the kill and termination of reintroductions, the notice letter details the agency’s failure to investigate the recent decline of the wild wolves, and also details actions and management decisions that harm the survival of red wolves.