Save the red wolf

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is a proud participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP), a program designed to ensure the long-term survival and security of the American red wolf. We are one of the 40+ wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, and other facilities that participate in the RWSSP by assisting with the long-term care of, planned and captive breeding of, and public education about red wolves. 

The six endangered red wolves who live with us right here in Chattanooga, TN not only contribute to the captive breeding program, but they also serve as ambassadors for their species to help our guests and suporters understand the significant challenges these canids face. In the words of Red Wolf Review, "Public understanding of red wolves is crucial to their survival as a species."

Surprisingly, our participation in the RWSSP comes with no federal, state or other government financial support. 

As a result, we must come together to support this project as a community. The survival of the red wolf depends upon our continued care, feeding, and maintenance of these wolves' health in captivity. 

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don't let red wolves go extinct 

The recent 10J ruling released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on June 27, 2018 proposes to dramatically change the scope of the American Red Wolf Recovery Program in the wild. Under the proposed new policy, the area where wild Red Wolves can disperse safely and thrive under their protected status will be reduced from 1.7 million acres to 204,000 acres. This is an approximate 90% reduction in habitat. 

The proposed rule also eliminates protections for Red Wolves that leave this newly designated area and venture onto private lands. Killing Red Wolves that leave the protected area, USFWS says, “would be explicitly permissible under the regulations.” USFWS will allow management of the species within the new recovery area including valuable coyote sterilization and cross fostering, however Red Wolves cannot read boundary lines. Maintaining a token population of vulnerable Red Wolves in a very limited habitat area is not restoration or recovery. It is a slow moving trek toward extinction.

While Reflection Riding is disappointed in this new proposal that reverses the course of decades of successful efforts, we are encouraged that USFWS is continuing the recovery efforts and re-establishing management practices within the designated range in North Carolina. We must continue to build community support for the American Red Wolf, a critical step that can benefit recovery efforts in North Carolina, a fact that USFWS has openly acknowledged.

Reflection Riding will continue to collaborate on Red Wolf research, offer Red Wolf education programs and continue our successful breeding and exhibiting to show just how vital this keystone species is for our ecosystems.

Our goal is to make sure this national treasure is saved for future generations of Americans and we need your support to help us do this.

USFWS is seeking comments about the proposed changes to the Red Wolf Recovery Program in North Carolina. We need you to submit constructive suggestions and support to continue recovery efforts and locate an additional release site in the Red Wolf’s historic range. In your comment, please be as positive and personal as you can. USFWS will not read derogatory statements or complaints.

You may post your comments to USFWS online by July 30. The New York Wolf Conservation Center published a helpful guide to writing successful comments - find it here.

Take Action Now - Submit Your Comment 

Photo by Bartel/USFWS

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