by: Robert McElmurray
VIRGINIA (WFXR) – Parts of Virginia and West Virginia could eventually be home to one of the most endangered mammals in North America.
A new report from the Center For Biological Diversity shows the George Washington and Jefferson national forests, among others, could be prime land for reintroducing the red wolf.
They looked at scientific studies of available habitats, highlighting areas that have adequate prey, few humans or roads, and reproductive isolation from coyotes to reduce hybridization.
Right now there are only 14 known red wolves in the wild, all of them are in eastern North Carolina.
Other areas the Center has proposed include the Apalachicola and Osceola national forests in Florida, the Monongahela national forests in West Virginia, and other National forests in North Carolina, Arkansas and Alabama.
The wolf once lived across the Southeast and Midwest from Texas up through parts of New York.
The Center For Biological Diversity says without help, the species could go extinct within the next five years.
They have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, demanding the Fish and Wildlife Service update their red wolf recovery plan.