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Endangered Species

Red Wolf (Canis rufusimage of red wolf)

Red wolves once ranged throughout the southeastern United States, including the Ozark Highlands of Missouri, but they have been absent from the Missouri landscape since the 1950s. They preferred upland and lowland forests and brushy areas, where they preyed on white-tailed deer, rabbits, raccoons and other small animals. Predator control programs, as well as habitat alteration and destruction, greatly reduced the red wolf population. Hybridization with the more prolific coyotes, which had expanded their numbers and range throughout the United States during the early and mid-1900s, dealt this species a knockout blow. By 1980 the red wolf was considered extinct int the wild throughout its range. Apporximately 300 red wolves still survive. These are offspring of approximately two dozen red wolves removed drom the wild in the 1970s, bred in captivity and released on public lands in several southeastern states. If this attempt to reintroduce red wolves to the wild is successful, more releases may follow--Janet Sternbur

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