Humans have had a detrimental impact on our planet’s natural environments and its wild inhabitants. Worsening climate change has sent many of the globe’s most intriguing and elusive creatures to the brink of extinction. Recently though, three extremely rare red wolves were spotted in North Carolina. And new footage shows the gorgeous creatures howling at the sky.
The captivating clip shows a mother red wolf and her pups, their faces turned skyward.
According to Newsweek, red wolves are the rarest species of wolf in the world. More significantly, they, unlike gray wolves, are solely found in the United States. Wildlife photographer Jennifer Hadley, who captured the video of the red wolves, said, “These are truly American wolves. Gray wolves exist in all sorts of places all over the world but not these. They were original to the U.S. and have remained that way.”
Unfortunately, just a few of these unique wolves populate the American wilderness. As of July, the outlet reports that less than two dozen red wolves can be found in the wild. This microscopic pack of canines is located on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula in eastern North Carolina. This compares to the red wolf’s heyday when they spanned areas from southeastern Texas up through central Pennsylvania.
Know the Stats & Facts:
Compared to the gray wolf, the red wolf is unique. With brown or “buff” colored fur, occasionally boasting red hues, and a small frame, red wolves weigh just 45 to 80 pounds. On average, they measure about four feet in length. For perspective, a male gray wolf can weigh anywhere between 66 to 180 pounds, and measure 3.4 to 5.2 feet in length.
They also compare to coyotes in a way because, while they’re bigger than their common cousins, their howls are similar in a way. That said, a red wolf howl is typically deeper in pitch and tends to last longer.
More interestingly, these creatures mate for life and often form close-knit packs of just five to eight in total. Most often, these packs include a primary mating couple and their offspring.
The History of Red Wolves In the United States
Unsurprisingly, the outlet states hunting and habitat loss brought the American red wolf to the brink of extinction by 1970. A few years later though, the breed was declared endangered under the Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went to great efforts to help grow the population again.
Essentially, those recovery efforts included capturing the nation’s remaining red wolves and encouraging breeding in captivity. By 1980, the animal was declared extinct in the wild. That would only be temporary though.
The recovery program which launched in the early ’70s enabled wildlife experts to release dozens of the naturally wild creatures back into the wild in the 1980s and ’90s. Newsweek reports the wild population peaked a decade ago in regions of North Carolina, numbering about 120 in total. Afterward, the species’ population went on the decline as a result of shootings and auto collisions. Between 2019 and 2021, America’s wild red wolf population welcomed no new pups.