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Impacts of roads and traffic on the red wolf: Potential avoidance, mitigation and compensation strategies

Project #: 4w9830
Start Date: 10/01/2022
End Date: 09/22/2023
Status: Completed

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. In 1980, the species was declared extinct in the wild, but the species survived in captivity. A mainland reintroduction effort to establish an eastern North Carolina red wolf population (ENC RWP) was initiated in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) in North Carolina in 1987. Red wolf with a collar equipped with reflective orange material
The population grew and remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2014 (81-110 individuals), but severely declined afterwards. While the population size was very low between 2019 and 2022, it had stabilized around 18-20 individuals and increased to an estimated 32-34 individuals in June 2023. Of all reported mortalities, vehicle strikes (19.96%) were one of the most frequently occurring known causes of death. This report summarizes the number of direct road mortalities, their location, and mitigation measures aimed at reducing direct road mortality while maintaining habitat connectivity across roads. Red wolf with a collar equipped with reflective orange material (Image provided by Joe Madison, NC Project Manager, Red Wolf Recovery Program).