Saving the wolves: A Stephenson Center for Appalachia lecture

January 17, 2017

Other than the sounds of the wind and pelting snow, the haunting howls of red wolves that many years ago brought a different kind of chill to folks huddled in their cabins have disappeared from our area, although a population still exists in the Eastern part of North Carolina.

Defenders of Wildlife Southeast Program Associate, Christopher Hunt, a North Carolina native with expertise in the Endangered Species Act, wants to ensure that the music of the wolves does not disappear from the wilds. He will present a program on red wolves at Lees-McRae on Wednesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium as part of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture Series.

Red wolves once ranged from Texas to New England, but the progress of civilization almost exterminated them, according to Hunt.

“Fortunately, a handful of survivors were gathered from the canebrakes of Louisiana and grown into the population we have today. Reintroduced in 1987, their recovery was a first-of-its-kind accomplishment,” Hunt said. “With over 150 red wolves, the program became the inspiration and model for the reintroduction of gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park.”

Unfortunately, ongoing problems led to a decline in the red wolf population–only 45 remain in the wild.

“This past September, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing most of the last wolves to zoos, and shrinking their current wild territory by almost ninety percent– a proposal that could erase thirty years of conservation success,” Hunt said.

If you are interested in plans to prevent this removal and to support maintaining a wild population, come participate in Christopher Hunt’s presentation at Lees-McRae. Stephenson Center for Appalachia programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Michael Joslin at

Photos courtesy of the Red Wolf Recovery Program

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