Reintroduction Of Canis Rufus To The Eglin Air Force Base Reservation

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Introduction: The red wolf is an endangered canin formerly found throughout the eastern United States as far north as New York and as far west as Texas. In the early 1900's the red wolf population in the wild was drastically reduced throughout its range. This was due to habitat loss and attempts of extermination. By 1970 the entire red wolf population was less than 100, confined to a small area of coastal Texas and Louisiana. It was at this time the US Fish and Wildlife decided to capture the remaining Red Wolfs and choose 14 animals to establish the Red Wolf recovery program. The roles of this recovery program are to safeguard the gene pool and return them to the wild into 3 distinct populations. This study seeks to determine the feasibility for red wolf (Canis Rufus) reintroduction to the Eglin Air Force Base reservation ecosystem.

Methods: All of this information was found in various papers written by scientists focused on various topics concerning the red wolf.

Information referring to the habitat, diet, and breeding habits was found in The Red Wolf, National Red Wolf Program, Tennessee Animal Biogeographic Systems TABS, and The Red Wolf Newsletter.

Results: The Red Wolf is very hard to study in that it is very shy and stays to itself. The Red Wolf has long legs and a slender body weighing between 45 and 70 pounds as an adult. Its coat consists of colors ranging from grayish-black to blonde with ears and head with a tint of cinnamon. They are also very territorial requiring a minimum of 4,000 acres or range but it is also thought that pair of adults would require up to 20,000 acres under more normal circumstances. Dens are usually constructed in old, used shelters made by other animals or found inside a hollow tree or other such structures. Red Wolves are generally nocturnal when hunting and lay around during daylight hours. When it comes to reproduction then the only change they need in habitat is a den with good drainage; studies have shown that heavy rain without good drainage will drown the pups.

Discussion: There have been many reintroduction problems before and each had it's own problem. If the Red Wolf were reintroduced to the Eglin Air Force Base reservation then they would of course have to be closely monitored. The number of Red Wolves would have to be decided after close examining of the area and resources it has to offer and the resources required. The reservation is it's indigenous habitat so it should do fine with the weather and temperatures.

Literature Cited: 1) National Red Wolf Program, 2) The Red Wolf Newsletter, Volume 11 Number 1 Summer 1999 3) The Red Wolf, 4) Tennessee Animal Biogeographic Systems TABS, version 4 2000, http://fwie.fw.vt.deu/TN/TN10003.htm.