One of the rarest and most endangered species of wolf in the world is the red wolf, or Canis rufus.
In fact, the species is so critically endangered that it was declared extinct in the wild in 1980 after predator control programs and habitat destruction nearly wiped them out completely. Thanks to recovery efforts and a captive breeding program that released red wolves back into the wild between 1987 and 1994, their numbers went back up to 100-120 individuals. But because of illegal shootings and killings, there are now around 45 to 60 of them living in five counties in North Carolina.
One of the threats to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency’s Red Wolf Recovery Program is the possibility of interbreeding with coyotes, but the agency states that “currently, adaptive management efforts are making good progress in reducing the threat of coyotes while building the wild red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina.” A more pressing and recent threat, however, is that a U.S. Senate committee is quietly working to end the program altogether.