In DepthEndangered Species

Red wolves in the crosshairs

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Science  26 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6204, pp. 1548-1549
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6204.1548

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The fate of red wolves will be decided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In a controversial move, the agency has begun a rapid assessment of its efforts to reestablish a wild population in North Carolina. Biologists consider the 27-year-old program a success, especially in preventing coyotes from mating with the wolves, which dilutes the stock. But the conservation effort faces significant opposition. Many hunters and local landowners resent the wolves, which they believe pose a threat to children, pets, and deer. The number of red wolves killed by gunshots has been rising. A recent ban on coyote hunting, to protect the wolves, has inflamed the situation. Advocates for the wolves fear that federal officials will decide to remove the 100 or so wolves from the wild.