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Red wolf found dead in Tyrrell County farm field

An adult red wolf pictured in October 2013 in North Carolina. The population peaked in 2012 at 120 wild wolves, but has dwindled over the past decade.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
An adult red wolf pictured in October 2013 in North Carolina. The population peaked in 2012 at 120 wild wolves, but has dwindled over the past decade.

A red wolf was found dead April 15 in Tyrrell County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking the public for help in the investigation.

According to a news release from the service, the wolf was found in a muddy farm field south of Newlands Road. The federally-protected wolf was shot in the spine which caused it to collapse in the field. A necropsy revealed that its lungs were full of mud. There were no further details from the service.

The Service is offering a reward of $5,000 for information that leads to the 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 Captain Frank Simms at 252-216-7504 or Special Agent Jason Keith at 919-856-4786 ext. 34.

Red wolves are governed by the rules established in 1995 setting up the experimental, nonessential population. This means landowners may be allowed to remove a nuisance red wolf if it attacks livestock or pets.

Additionally, a red wolf that is taken incidentally to any type of otherwise legal activity on private lands in the wolf recovery area does not constitute a violation of federal regulation provided that the taking is not intentional or willful and is reported to the Service within 24 hours, the release states.

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). Reporting red wolf incidents quickly is important so that service personnel can minimize conflicts and retrieve any carcasses while they are still intact.

Until this tragedy, this year had seen a series of positive events happen for the endangered species.

In February, the service announced nine red wolves would be released in Eastern North Carolina in the proceeding five to six weeks as part of the latest effort to help increase the declining population.

In April, a litter of six wild red wolf pups was born in North Carolina for the first time since 2018. In the same month, three wolf pups were born at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

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