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The Forgotten Wolf?

Rarest canid in the world. 

     Filming the American red wolf was no easy task. This species is an extremely shy and reclusive animal, preferring to be far away from people. They spend most of their day in hiding in tall grass within the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. In order to catch a glimpse of this animal, our team had to spend eleven days working with USFWS biologists tracking this animal. Through a technology called radio telemetry and setting up a system of trail cameras, we were able to narrow down where the Milltail Pack was hanging out. 

     Once we found a hotspot of activity on our cameras as well as observing scat and tracks, we set up blinds and spent hours at dawn and dusk waiting for activity. On one of the last days, we were rewarded with the site of an American red wolf crossing a field of flowers. We only got ten minutes with them until they moved off into the grass again. 

     The American red wold is the most endangered canid in the world and is at risk of a second extinction. Now, less than 30 remain in the wild. USFWS and other conservation organizations are working around the clock to bring this important predator back across the landscape of America. 

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Red wolves in managed populations across the United States are critical in maintaining genetic diversity among the red wolf population. 

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US Fish and Wildlife biologists prepare the male wolf for transport to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge for release into the wild. 

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The male wolf takes a quick pause moments after stepping foot into the wild for the first time. 

History of uncertainty.


     The American red wolf was once prominent across the Eastern part of the United States but Government sponsored extermination programs and habitat loss caused this species to go extinct in the wild in 1980. USFWS as well as several conservation organizations across the country stepped in to save the species by collecting the last remaining handful of wolves in the wild to start breeding programs in managed care facilities. Red wolves reproduced well and by 1987, this important carnivore was back on the landscape. The presence of these wolves help balance the ecosystem by consuming herbivorous species such as dee as well as other miso predators such as raccoons. Learn more about the American red wolf recovery here

Behind the scenes

The WILDlife of Filmmaking

     Join Justin Grubb and Alex Goetz as they explore the wilds of North Carolina in search of the worlds most endangered canid. An animal that has already gone extinct once in the wild. There are less than 30 American red wolves left and their conservation is critical to maintain a healthy ecosystem.


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