May 29, 2024 7:45 am
Search
Close this search box.

National News

Red wolf pups signal hope for endangered species in NC

Credit: iStock

By Shanteya Hudson, May 15, 2024   

Ahead of Endangered Species Day this Friday, conservation groups in North Carolina are celebrating the birth of eight red wolf pups at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Red wolves, once a dominant presence across the Southeastern United States, are now teetering on the brink of extinction, with only 30 confirmed adults living in the wild.

Heather Clarkson, Southeast program outreach representative for Defenders of Wildlife, explained ongoing efforts to revive the population have been met with both hardships and victories.

“We’ve got a couple of hundred in facilities under human care around the United States,” Clarkson noted. “Those wolves that are under human care are a critical part of the recovery program, because they are used to supplement wild populations and wild genetics.”

Recovery efforts also include reintroducing red wolves into the wild. According to Clarkson, despite the risks posed by guns and highways, there have been wild wolf litters born in North Carolina for the past three years.

The wild wolf population has ranged from more than 150 animals to as few as 10, within a decade. Clarkson emphasized without the Endangered Species Act, the wolves would not be thriving today.

The red wolf is the only wolf native to the eastern U.S., and once roamed freely from New York to Florida, and even Texas. As the fight continues against extinction, Clarkson stressed the need to expand their current habitats beyond Eastern North Carolina. She argued identifying new release areas is crucial, along with advocacy to push for species expansion and survival.

“A large part of the recovery effort has just been working to re-educate citizens and teach them how to alongside these large carnivores, and accept the understanding that these animals have a place on the landscape,” Clarkson stressed. “They have a really critical function in our ecosystems; they keep our wild areas healthy.”

Clarkson added safeguarding red wolves is a collective responsibility, with action needed from both state and federal officials. The current red wolf population in captivity stands at 257, with ongoing research to understand their ancestry in the wild.

Disclosure: Defenders of Wildlife contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species & Wildlife, Energy Policy, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

This story is republished from Public News Service under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.

Biden administration touts NC investments to kick off “Infrastructure Week”

The Biden administration’s significant infrastructure investments are transforming North Carolina, highlighted by projects such as the $110 million replacement of the Alligator River Bridge and the $1 billion high-speed rail line connecting Raleigh to Richmond. However, with only 17% of the allocated $1.1 trillion spent to date, the administration faces challenges in demonstrating these impacts to voters before the upcoming November election.

Raleigh City Council approves $5 million for new pilot program to address homelessness

The Raleigh City Council has approved a $5 million pilot program to provide direct rent assistance to unsheltered individuals. The “Unsheltered Homelessness Response Program” allocates $1.9 million for direct subsidies to help individuals move into permanent housing and $2 million to expand housing options, including repairs to city-owned rental units and affordable housing.

Development pressures, higher taxes threaten to displace Black homeowners in SE Raleigh

On a sunny spring afternoon, a predominantly Black crowd gathered at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh to learn about appealing their property taxes, which have soared due to rising property values. With property values in Wake County increasing by 56% from 2020 to 2024, many long-time residents on fixed incomes are struggling to keep up with the higher taxes, leading to widespread concerns about systemic inequities and displacement in historically Black neighborhoods.