Fact Sheet
Red Wolf


Threats to the red wolf include habitat loss due to human development, negative attitudes that hinder restoration, severe weather, deaths by motor vehicles, and illegal killings. Interbreeding between coyote and red wolf populations has remained a constant threat to the recovery of this imperiled species.

Given that the entire current range of the red wolf in the wild is located in a small coastal area at roughly three feet in elevation, the impacts of climate change – including storm surges and sea level rise – loom large as a threat to their future.

Reasons for Hope

In early 2008, the Navy finally abandoned a proposal to build a training airstrip adjacent to Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina -- critical wintering ground for hundreds of thousands of migratory swans, geese and ducks, and home to the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves.

A broad coalition worked for years to prevent the airstrip, with Defenders staff providing important support and thousands of our supporters writing messages urging the Navy to reconsider this ill-conceived plan.

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During Wolf Awareness Week, we celebrate the vital role wolves play in the ecosystem, combat the misinformation that so often surrounds them, and share what you can do to help wolves survive.
Places for Wolves
The red wolf (currently recognized as a different species than the gray wolf) once ranged as far north as Pennsylvania and as far west as central Texas. Because of its wide distribution, the red wolf played an important role in a variety of ecosystems, from pocosin lowlands to forested mountains.
Lesser Prairie Chicken, © Joel Sartore
In the Magazine
Emergency Preparedness; Red Wolves in the Spotlight; Plummeting Lesser Prairie Chicken Population