FACT: The red wolf is listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Killing or harming a red wolf on purpose is a federal crime. However, landowners are allowed to kill a wolf if it is attacking livestock or pets.
FACT: There are two species of wolves in North America. They are the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the red wolf (Canis rufus).
FACT: A red wolf can travel up to 20 miles a day in search of food. Red wolves walk on their toes, with their heels elevated above the ground. Their elbows are turned inward and they have a very narrow chest. This helps to give them speed and agility. In fact, most wolves can run at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
FACT: The red wolf is larger than a coyote but smaller than a gray wolf. Red wolves are mostly brown and buff colored with some black along their backs, often with a reddish color on their ears, head and legs. Red wolves have tall pointed ears, long legs and large feet, similar to the domestic German shepherd.
FACT: Red wolves range in size from 45 pounds to 80 pounds. The average adult female red wolf weighs 52 pounds, and the average adult male weighs 61 pounds. Adult red wolves stand about 26 inches at their shoulder and are about 4 ½ feet long from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail.
FACT: The red wolf diet is made up of a combination of white-tailed deer, raccoons, rabbits and other rodents such as mice and nutria.
FACT: Historically, red wolves once numbered in the thousands. They ranged from Pennsylvania to Florida and Texas and recent evidence suggests they ranged as far north as southern Ontario. By 1970 there were less than one hundred red wolves living in a small area of coastal Texas and Louisiana.
FACT: To save the species from extinction, all the remaining red wolves were brought into captivity. Only 14 of these animals were considered true red wolves and they became part of a captive breeding program.
FACT: In 1987, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released four pair of red wolves into the wild at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina.
FACT: Today there are over 150 red wolves living in captivity and there are over 100 wild red wolves living in northeastern North Carolina.
FACT: Each red wolf that is captured or released by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is fitted with a radio collar that sends out signals or “beeps” that can be heard with a radio receiver. With this equipment the biologists can track and monitor the wolves at all times.
FACT: Red wolves are shy and stay away from humans. However, red wolves, like other wild animals, should not be approached in order to avoid injury to the animal or the people involved.