Red wolves are shy, elusive, misunderstood predators. Until the 1800s, they were common in the longleaf pine savannas and deciduous forests of the southeastern United States. But red wolves were nearly annihilated by habitat degradation, persecution, and interbreeding with the coyote. Today, reintroduced red wolves are found only on peninsular northeastern North Carolina within less than one percent of their former historic range.
Almost hunted to the brink of extinction, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rounded up fewer than 20 pure red wolves to be bred in captivity in 1980. As of 2007, approximately 207 captive red wolves reside at 38 captive breeding facilities across the United States. Thanks to these programs, more than 100 red wolves currently live in the wild