RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Federal officials plan to reduce the territory of the world’s only wild population of red wolves to parts of a single North Carolina county under a revamped management plan.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the new footprint for the program will take effect around the end of 2017 under the plan announced on Monday.
Officials also announced that they plan to mix wild wolves with those in a captive breeding program to boost the species’ overall population.
Federal officials say about 45 wolves currently roam five counties in eastern North Carolina. But some landowners have complained the animals become nuisances when they wander onto private land.
Once common around the Southeast, the red wolf had been considered extinct in the wild as of 1980 before captive-bred wolves were reintroduced several years later.
Follow Jonathan Drew at twitter.com/jonldrew