By DAVE DEWITT
Residents and interested parties will have a chance to once again weigh in on the future of the wild red wolf population in eastern North Carolina.
Almost everything about the red wolf recovery program has been a source of debate in recent years, from the animal’s status as a stand-alone species, to its impact on local wildlife.
Currently, only about 45 red wolves live in the wild, in a five-county area in and around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
In September 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – under pressure from some local landowners and hunting enthusiasts – proposed reducing the animal’s footprint, and doing more captive breeding.
That prompted some animal-rights proponents to claim that the Service was planning to do away with the program completely.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife will hold two public comment sessions this week, in Swan Quarter and Manteo.