EUREKA, MO (KTVI) - They are some of the best minds in the United States when it comes to saving species. They've gathered at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka with their sights set on saving the red wolf.
“So the red wolf is the most endangered wolf in the world. There are only 50 individuals left in the wild and what’s amazing is that it is solely native to the United States,” said Regina Mossotti, director of animal care at the Endangered Wolf Center.
At one time, you could find red wolves in Missouri and Illinois; but in 2015, North Carolina is the only state in the U.S. where red wolves can be found in the wild.
So people everywhere from Washington to New York to Florida and in between have come together and are working for one goal. They’re here to brainstorm, observe, and exchange ideas on saving this species of wolves that went from 100 to only 50 left in the wild.
“Once you lose a species they’re gone and fortunately, the Fish and Wildlife Service intervened in time so that didn’t happen,” said Will Waddell, coordinator for Red Wolf SSP.
The Endangered Wolf Center has been trying to save these carnivores since 1980, the same year there were only 14 red wolves remaining. That’s when the breeding in captivity program began.
At present, about 190 red wolves live in managed breeding facilities. Four red wolves live at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka.
“At one point they were considered extinct in the wild and that’s when facilities like Endangered Wolf Center and Point Defiant Zoo and Aquarium and the other 40-plus institutions around the country stepped up to the plate to say, ‘We can’t let that happen.’” Waddell said.