Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 10

C R E AT U R E F E AT U R E

WORKING FOR SURVIVAL

'Little Red Riding
Hood Lied'
Advocates for endangered red wolves fight to bring them back-
and banish stereotypes.
By NANCY HENDERSON

T

he more she talks, the more animated Tish Gailmard, director of wildlife at Reflection Riding
Arboretum and Nature Center in Chattanooga,
Tennessee, becomes as she shares the real-life
tale of red wolves: Once upon a time, these canids-the only wolves native to the Southeast-
freely roamed the forests and fields of the Blue
Ridge states and as far west as central Texas. But by the
1970s, an endangered species biologist named Curtis
Carley suspected that the animals were in serious decline and decided to venture into the woods to see just
how bad things were. When he played recorded red wolf
howls, very few animals answered. All were found on
the Texas-Louisiana coast.
Of the 400 animals Carley and his scientific colleagues
collected, only 17 were true red wolves. They were subsequently declared extinct in the wild.
So biologists launched a Species Survival Plan based
in Tacoma, Washington, set aside 1.7 million acres in
rural, northeastern North Carolina where there were no
non-native coyotes (the two will interbreed), and began
raising the wolves in captivity. By 2010, there were 140
known red wolves in the area.
But fearing attacks on their livestock, North Carolina
farmers often mistook the red wolves for coyotes and
hunted them, and the numbers dropped again. Then advocates convinced a judge that wild dogs were mostly to
blame and he halted hunting in the recovery area.
"We're thinking, 'Great. This is an awesome win,'"
says Gailmard. "Well, it made North Carolina landowners really mad because the government was telling them
what they could and couldn't do on their property.
So some of them intentionally continued to shoot red
wolves."
Meanwhile, 44 captive breeding facilities like Reflection Riding, which joined the survival plan in 1996 and

10

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

now houses six red wolves,
were slowly reviving the
population. "The way
we were operating it just
a few years ago, it was
incredibly
successful," says Gailmard.
"The gray wolf
program
that
everybody's familiar with out
of Yellowstone
was modeled after the red wolf program."
But the effort hit another snag a few years ago when
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service "reevaluated" the
program, leading to court battles and various efforts to
downsize it, says Gailmard. Today there are believed to
be only 27 red wolves in the wild, all on the designated
property in North Carolina.
"It's super frustrating," Gailmard says of all the obstacles. "This wolf is the only truly all-American red wolf.
There is no other wolf that is indigenous to the United
States. The gray wolf migrated. The red wolf was bred,
born and raised in the Southeast, so it's worthy of conservation just for that reason alone, not to mention all
the wonderful ecological balances it provides.
"If you take the red wolf out of the landscape, the
deer population increases and the raccoon population
increases," she adds. "The deer over-browse all the trees
and the shrubs, which can cause erosion, which can
cause creeks and rivers to actually change their pattern.
And over-browsing can cause the songbirds to leave. If
your songbirds leave, you've got a whole bunch of bugs."
Currently, Gailmard and other conservationists are
working to educate residents in the North Carolina recovery area about the importance, and harmlessness, of


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2019 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2020_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2019_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2018_0102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_2017_0304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20140102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20131112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/brc_20130708
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com