(11/10/1995) - Defenders of Wildlife announced today that it will offer a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who killed a female endangered red wolf last weekend.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) personnel found the body of the wolf on November 6 in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, North Carolina, where it was under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Anyone with information about the recent red wolf killing should contact FWS at (919) 946-3361.
FWS biologists said that the dead wolf had a litter of pups born on April 22, 1995, which is Earth Day. Although, the pups are just over six months old and probably capable of surviving on their own, normally they would have stayed with their mother for a year and a half or longer.
Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife, said today, "This is a crime committed in an atmosphere of radical rhetoric by anti-environmental groups and politicians. The erroneous remark made on the Senate floor in August by Senator Jesse Helms, (R- NC), claiming that a red wolf had attacked a child is a prime example. Public figures have a responsibility to base statements about endangered species on fact, not fear."
The FWS enforcement officials credited an earlier Defenders' reward in helping to produce evidence in the case in which Chad McKittrick of Red Lodge, Montana, was convicted of shooting one of the gray wolves released earlier this year as part of the Yellowstone National Park wolf reintroduction program.
Schlickeisen added, "National wildlife refuges were established by law to protect wildlife. Therefore, it is especially outrageous that someone would commit this crime on a national wildlife refuge. Defenders is offering this reward so people will think twice before committing crimes against endangered species."
Red wolves were listed as endangered in 1967 and were declared officially extinct in the wild in 1980. A reintroduction program of captive-bred red wolves began in 1987, and red wolves have once again been reproducing in the wild. According to FWS, there is no known incident of any person being bitten by a red wolf and no record of any livestock killed by a red wolf in North Carolina.
Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270