U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are asking the public for information in the investigation of the killing of a federally protected red wolf in Washington County.
Officials announced this week that the red wolf, or Canis rufus, was found dead along a fence line south of Newland Road on May 18. They said the red wolf was shot in the torso, causing the animal to falter and fall where it was ultimately found. A recent necropsy found the red wolf’s lungs were collapsed.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to successful prosecution in this case. Anyone with information on the death of the red wolf is urged to contact North Carolina Division of Refuge Law Enforcement Patrol Capt. Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or Special Agent Matthew Brink at 919-856-4786 ext. 37.
Red wolves are governed by the rules established in 1995 setting up experimental, nonessential population. This means that landowners may be allowed to remove nuisance red wolf if it attacks their livestock or pets. Additionally, a red wolf that is taken incidentally to any type of otherwise legal activity, such as trapping coyotes following state regulations, on private lands in the red wolf recovery area does not constitute a violation of federal regulations provided that the taking is not intentional or willful and is reported to the Wildlife Service within 24 hours.
If someone accidentally kills a red wolf, they must report it by calling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service toll-free at 1-855-4-WOLVES (1-855-496-5837). It is important to report red wolf incidents quickly so that officials can minimize conflicts and retrieve any carcasses while they are still intact.
To learn more about red wolves and the Wildlife Service’s efforts to recover them, visit this website.