US Fish and Wildlife Service

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Federal wildlife regulators want to scale back the red wolf recovery program in northeastern North Carolina. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service issued a decision Monday on its two-year review of the 30-year-old program. The red wolf was the first endangered species reintroduced to the wild in 1987.

A red wolf
Joan Lopez via Flickr/Creative Commons

An endangered red wolf pup has been born at the North Carolina Zoo.

The sole pup is the sixth litter of red wolves born at the zoo, but the first since 2010.

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers have 10 days before the latest temporary budget expires.

The House and Senate are trying to reconcile their $21 billion spending plans, and among the sticking points are environmental issues, including the state's solar energy tax credit, renewable energy standards, and water quality requirements for Jordan Lake.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Conservation groups notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today that they intend to sue the federal agency over its management of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

The groups say the Fish and Wildlife Service has failed in its responsibility to protect red wolves. The nearly 30-year old program is an effort to re-introduce the animals that were extinct in the wild.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The Red Wolf Recovery program in eastern North Carolina will continue – at least for now. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the 27-year old program will require some changes and further review. The agency will not release new animals into the wild while it studies the program further.

About 50-75 wild red wolves currently roam a five-county area on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula.

red wolf
Southern Environmental Law Center

A report on the Red Wolf Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina is highly critical of various aspects of the nearly 30-year old effort to re-introduce the endangered animal into the wild.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service contracted out the report to evaluate the program. Currently about 100 red wolves live in a five-county area in and around the Alligator River National Wildlife refuge.

Among other things, the report criticizes the original estimate for how much land would be needed to support the population.

A red wolf
Joan Lopez via Flickr/Creative Commons

Wildlife officials are looking into what is believed to be the illegal shooting death of a red wolf in eastern North Carolina. 

State and federal officials announced the investigation in a news release Friday.  They say the radio-collared red wolf was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound last month in Tyrrell County.  It's the third red wolf to die this year from a gunshot. 

The first two deaths happened in January and March.  Seven other red wolves have died of other various reasons ranging from natural causes to being hit by cars.

red wolf
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Hank and Betty seem like they’re in a pretty good mood today. It’s stopped raining, and the sun is poised to peak out between the loblolly pines that surround their den. And their caretaker, Kim Wheeler, has brought them a snack.

As the director of the Red Wolf Coalition, Wheeler cares for these two captive red wolves at their enclosure just south of Columbia. She often brings groups of tourists here to see the mating pair and learn more about how the species behaves.

Fish and Wildlife Service worker on boat checking gill net full of fish
Pedro Ramirez, Jr. / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A trade group of North Carolina commercial fishermen has proposed that the General Assembly raise their fishing license fees to pay for regulatory measures.

Flounder fishermen sometimes get endangered sea turtles caught in their gillnets, so federal law requires that the state hire trained "observers" to check nets regularly. The General Assembly only funded the observer program until next summer, but if there's no observer at all, the state will be required to stop all gillnet fishing.

The rattlesnake-master borer moth has been listed as a candidate for the Endangered Species List. It's found in Pender County, NC.
William Glass

Officials with the US Fish & Wildlife Service made two big announcements concerning North Carolina this month: they determined that a very rare moth found in one county near the coast warrants placement on the Endangered Species List, and they are awarding the state two grants to help with wildlife conservation.

Loggerhead sea turtle
Wendell Reed, via Flickr, Creative Commons

Carteret County's Board of Commissioners voted file a letter of intent to sue the US Fish and Wildlife Service over new protections for the loggerhead sea turtle. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is considering declaring parts of Carteret County a critical habitat for the turtles. They are currently designated as a threatened species by the Endangered Species Act.

The Carteret County Shore Protection Office claims that existing protections for loggerhead turtles are enough, and that new guidelines would hurt business and tourism in the area. Pete Benjamin, who directs the Raleigh Field Office of the Fish and Wildlife Service, says the new rules will only affect federal activity.

Loggerhead sea turtle
US Fish and Wildlife Service

Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are estimating the cost of designating special loggerhead sea turtle habitats along the Southeast coast.  The federal agency released a draft proposal saying it will cost $150,000 annually to protect areas in North Carolina and five other states.  

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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. 

Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge
Michele Hayslett / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmental officials are asking for public input about whether they should replant genetically modified crops (GMCs) at national wildlife refuges in North Carolina. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hosts a public meeting at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Thursday.  That refuge and three others in eastern North Carolina have been using a farming program to plant genetically modified crops like corn and soybeans since the 1990's.

A new map detailing high-risk habitat areas for land-based wind energy projects has been posted online by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A new map detailing high-risk habitat areas for land-based wind energy projects has been posted online by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Big game hunting could be coming to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. A new proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would allow limited hunting for white tail deer and feral hogs. Mike Bryant is a refuge manager for six areas including Currituck. He says the rule changes would mark the first time deer and hog hunters would be allowed in the refuge.

Bald Eagle, bird, animal,
West Hills Veterinary Center, Henderson, NC

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission are investigating the shooting of a mature bald eagle in Warren County near the Virginia border. They're offering a $2,500 reward for anyone with information that leads to a conviction.