In a preliminary injunction, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has failed its responsibility of protecting an endangered species of red wolves in North Carolina, according to the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

After an initial trial, Judge Terrence W. Boyle agreed with an environmental group that accused the USFWS of not fulfilling their responsibilities to an endangered species and alolowing the remaining low population to be killed.

Red Wolve
Res wolve. Image credit: Reddit/G-Lal.

The USFWS is the federal agency responsible for protecting wildlife, fish, plants and their habitats for “the continuing benefit of the American people.” However, the organization has been judged by a team of environmentalist arguing that the extinction of red wolves could be on their hands.

The arguments of the preliminary injunction are based on the recent decisions made by the organization of moving the remaining population of red wolves in North Carolina to secure zoos, in order to prevent their extinction.

Landowners in places where the endangered species lives, have been granted permission by the organization to kill red wolves when a dangerous situation presents. However, environmentalists claim that the situation hasn’t been evaluated to its fullest.

Protecting an endangered species 

The group of environmentalists formed by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Red Wolf Coalition, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, claims that the USFWS has been focusing on developing captivity plans for the red wolves, instead of protecting them.

Red wolves in North Carolina are the last remaining subjects of this species in the world. The number of individuals living in the state was reduced from 100 to only 45 in the last two years. These numbers shocked environmentalists and organizations who decided to do something about it.

Red Wolve
“Without this court order, there wasn’t going to be any wild population left for the court and the American public to save.” read the press release issued by the USFWS. Image credit: USFWS.

“The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for the protection of endangered wildlife and the habitats where they live, but the agency seems to have red wolves on a path towards extinction in the wild and captivity,” explained Sierra Weaver, the senior attorney for the environmental law center in a statement.

The USFWS has been focusing on creating plans to move the remaining wolves into zoos. This would allow the species to mate and repopulate itself. The organization’s primary objective is reaching 400 wolves.

According to the group of environmentalists, the organization team plays a role in the possible extinction of these endangered animals since they have allowed landowners to eliminate the species from their areas.

After the preliminary injunction had ended on Thursday, the organization was prohibited by the judge to make any decisions on removing or allowing anyone to eliminate a red wolf from any property, unless a human life is in danger. It is yet to be seen if the agency will continue with its repopulation plans in local zoos after the order was issued.

Source: Red Wolves