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Fewer than 25 red wolves
remain in the wild.

About the Campaign

This spring a two-year-old endangered red wolf named Muppet was killed by a vehicle strike on North Carolina’s Highway 64. He died not far from where his father was killed just six months earlier. And he was the fifth red wolf to be killed by a vehicle strike in the last year.

These are devastating losses. Fewer than 25 red wolves remain in the wild. Help secure a safer future for red wolves by joining the campaign to build a wildlife crossing in the heart of their home in North Carolina.

A generous donor has already pledged to contribute a landmark $2 million match challenge for a Red Wolf Wildlife Crossing Fund — but we must raise another $2 million in committed matching funds by Aug. 31.

Meeting this goal is critical to securing state and federal funding that will make this project a reality.

Help meet the match by giving to the Red Wolf Wildlife Crossing Fund.

To make a pledge or contribute a principle or major contribution, contact Gretchen Mais at gmais@biologicaldiversity.org or by calling (520) 345-5733.

Project Background

A wildlife crossing on North Carolina’s US Highway 64 is an urgent priority. Red wolves are the world’s most endangered canids, and fewer than 25 of them remain in the wild. Five have been killed by vehicle strikes in the past year. All five were killed along or near Highway 64 in eastern North Carolina, which passes through the heart of Alligator River and Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuges — the only places on the planet where wild red wolves now live.

Fortunately the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021 sets aside $350 million in funding for Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program. The second round of funding is being made available this year. Since the Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program was established, no project in the Southeast has been the recipient of this critical pool of funding. This year that needs to change.

To secure federal funds and build a lifesaving wildlife crossing in the heart of red wolf habitat, 20% of the funding must come from state and private sources. Fortunately, an anonymous donor has already put forward a $2 million match challenge which will be delivered to the North Carolina Department of Transportation if an additional $2 million in funds can be raised.

These funds are critical to seeking and additional $16 million through the federal grant program this fall. If the match is met, and the application is successful, this funding will build wildlife underpass structures enabling wildlife to cross US 64 and access habitat in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge that lies on both sides of the highway. The project will also provide substantial fencing to guide wildlife to safe passage.

This is a critical moment. Red wolves and dozens of other species, from spotted turtles to river otters, are counting on us to raise the needed funds this summer.

A coalition organized by Wildlands Network and the Center for Biological Diversity are leading this effort. Pledges and gift can be made by contacting the Center for Biological Diversity’s deputy development director, Gretchen Mais, at (520) 345-5733 or gmais@biologicaldiversity.org.

Meet The Wolves

HOPE
(2225F)

Yerharahčrę́·tih

Birth Year:  2019

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2225F

Hope is the mother of 19 red wolves across three generations. She gave birth to six pups in 2022 and five pups in 2023—and also fostered a sixth captive-born pup who was placed in her care. In 2024, she gave birth to eight pups with her new breeding partner, Finch. Hope is the matriarch of the Milltail pack, and her Tuscarora name means “She brings hope.” Hope has saved the wild red wolf population, which had dropped to as few as seven before her first pups arrived. She and her offspring have brought new hope to the red wolves’ future. 

FINCH (2191M)

 

Ríʔę haʔ Urʔę́hseh  

Birth Year:  2017

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2191M

Finch’s Tuscarora name means “Father of the Clan.” Finch is a captive born male who was released into Milltail Pack territory to mate with Hope after Hope‘s previous partner died in a vehicle collision. Finch was kept in an acclimation pen with True—one of Hope’s daughters—to help his chances of being accepted into the pack. Finch successfully bred with Hope in the spring of 2024 and sired eight pups.

CHANCE (2413F)

Thiyeyehsę́·te

Birth Year: 2022

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2413F

Chance was born in 2022 to Hope (2225F). She recently gave birth to pups of her own. She is the first of Hope’s offspring to breed. Her name in Tuscarora means “She is a special one.”

BLAZE (2412F)

Yehahné tih

Birth Year:  2022

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2412F

Blaze is the most social and active of the red wolves in the Milltail pack. Blaze was born in 2022. She is one of the most wide-ranging red wolves, and she is playful, energetic, and curious. Her Tuscarora name means “She makes the path.”

HUNTER (2411M)

Ratú·ra·č

Birth Year: 2022

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2411M

Hunter was the second-born male of the 2022 litter and has a distinctive fox-like face and coloration. His name means ‘He is a Hunter’ in Tuscarora. Hunter helped protect the 2023 litter of pups after their father died. 



TRUE (2414F)

Yehahę́hneʔ

Birth Year: 2022
 

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2414F

True is a female with light cinnamon-brown coloration. In December 2023, she was temporarily placed in an acclimation pen with Finch to help him gain Hope’s attention. True often follows her slitter mates, and her Tuscarora name means “She who follows the path.”

TRAVELER (2503F)

Yęʔnawę̀·rih

Birth Year: 2023 

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2503F

Traveler is similar to her older sister Blaze. Both are active, energetic, and bold. Amelia is the most outgoing and adventurous of her 2023 litter mates and moves with confidence across the landscape. Her Tuscarora name means “She travels around.”

Ghost (2502F)

Yeʔnęnęhskwáhthaʔ

Birth Year: 2023

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2502F

Ghost is elusive and rarely seen. She often slinks through irrigation ditches to travel furtively across the refuge. Her Tuscarora name means “She is stealthy.”

FOREST (2500M)

Birth Year: 2023

Family:  Milltail pack

Tag: 2500M

Forest is a blondish male and the runt of the 2023 litter. He remains smaller than his siblings and has distinctively floppy ears. Forest is shy and elusive, but he gained confidence by following his older brothers and sisters. He is often seen in forested habitats, and is Tuscarora names means “He who moves easily through the forest.” 

Shadow

Ręhahaye·ráʔthaʔ

Birth Year: 2023

Family:  Milltail Pack

Tag: TBD

Shadow was orginially born in a captive breeding facility in Tacoma, Washington. He was fostered into the Milltail pack to help increase genetic diversity. Shadow has a darker coat that many of the other red wolves. His Tuscarora name means “He who clears the way.”

Pathmaker (2307M)

Rahahę́·tih

Birth Year: 2021

Family:  Pungo Pack

Tag: 2307M

Pathmaker is the breeding male of the Pungo pack. He and Hope gave birth to two female pups in 2023. His Tuscarora name means ‘He Who Makes the Path’ in the language of the indigenous Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. Pathmaker protects the only pack of red wolves in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

SPRING (2361F)

Utaʔkrękę·haʔnęʔ Kakúʔę

Birth Year: 2021

Family:  Pungo pack

Tag: 2361F

Spring is the breeding female of the Pungo pack. Her Tuscarora name means ‘Mother of a Nation’ in the language of the Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. Spring gave birth to two females in 2023. She is matriarch of the only wolf pack in Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

SHIELD (2514F)

Kayęʔnaʔnęnę́thyar

Birth Year: 2023

Family: Pungo pack

Tag: 2514F

Shield is one of two female pups born in 2023. Her Tuscarora name means ‘She Protects’ in the language of the indigenous Tuscarora Nation of North Carolina. She and her sister Hawkeye are the only two known juveniles in the Pungo pack.

HAWKEYE (2515F)

Yęʔnewęyéhsthaʔ

Birth Year: 2023

Family: Pungo

Tag: 2515F

Hawkeye is one of two female pups born in 2023. She and 2514F are the only two known juveniles in the Pungo pack.

Listen to the Tuscarora pronunciation of red wolf names and their English translations: