Wildlife researchers have noticed a slight drop in the number of pups being born to the state's native red wolf population. According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, 34 wolf pups in seven litters were found in eastern North Carolina habitats. That's down by an average of seven pups over the last three years.
David Rabon coordinates the state's Red Wolf Recovery Program.
"We really don't know what to make of it just yet," Rabon says. "There are so many variables that factor into that like the number of wolves on the landscape or the number of breeding animals available or the number of breeding pairs. But it was something that was kind of a small downturn in what we've seen in the last few years."
Rabon says while the species is still endangered, there are about 100 red wolves in eastern habitats and 200 more in breeding programs across the country. He says that's a long way from a count of 14 total red wolves two decades ago.