North Carolina Wildlife Webcam Offering a 24/7 Look at Rare Red Wolves
COLUMBIA, NC (WWAY) – Wildlife and nature lovers everywhere can get a 24/7 glimpse into the lives of a pair of captive red wolves thanks to recently installed webcams at the Red Wolf Center in Columbia, North Carolina, located on Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
With a live webcam in their den and another in their outdoor enclosure, viewers can watch the Red Wolves at any time as they move through the wooded area and interact, doze, sniff, play, eat and maybe even to scream.
The red wolves in the exhibit – a 14-year-old male nicknamed #1714 and an 8-year-old female nicknamed #2061 – cannot be released into the wild and live in the educational and health care facility located on the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
“Red wolves are not only extremely rare, but they are also naturally shy, wary of humans, and adept at making themselves difficult to spot,” said North Carolina Wildlife Federation shelter volunteer Katerina Ramos. “Seeing them in the wild is nearly impossible, which is why we’re so excited that people can observe these incredible creatures anytime, day or night.”
American red wolves (Canis rufus) are listed as a critically endangered species, with fewer than 25 in the wild and only a few hundred in captivity in facilities across the country.
North Carolina is the only place where a wild population of red wolves exists.
Their survival depends on the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s red wolf recovery program and the work of program partners, including the NCWF. In mid-April, a litter of 6 wild red cubs (4 females, 2 males) was born – the first since 2018 – and renewed hope for the survival of the species.
With the fiber optic cable installed centrally to ensure fast broadcast speeds, NC Wildlife Federation staff spent a week positioning and testing the camera equipment. While the cameras can be maneuvered to capture multiple viewpoints, there is no webcam behind the den where the wolves sometimes nap during the day. The cameras will also help staff and custodians observe wolves from a distance while continuing to learn their behavior and needs while monitoring their health and well-being.
“We can’t wait for a wider audience to see the close-knit behavior of wolves when bonded, especially how they behave with each other day-to-day and when in the den,” said Ramos. “Most people don’t realize the benevolent nature of these animals towards their pack members. It’s truly magnificent to see wolf behavior in action, and the cameras will help us virtually experience more of these interactions.
The last remaining red wolves reside on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula, located on the coast of North Carolina and covering Dare, Tyrrell, Washington, Hyde, and Beaufort counties. The Red Wolf Center, part of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, provides a centralized location in the recovery area. The public can receive up-to-date information on wild red wolves, attend weekly educational lectures, and see the two captive red wolves in person.
“The North Carolina Wildlife Federation has a long history of education, awareness and recovery of red wolves,” said CEO Tim Gestwicki. “We are working in partnership with federal and state agencies, landowners, and other conservation NGOs to address the challenges facing red wolves in the wild.”
To prepare for the 2022 red wolf release season, NCWF and USFWS purchased and installed four electronic message signs to alert drivers that red wolves (and other wildlife) are passing through the area. An electrified bear-proof acclimatization enclosure for the Red Wolf Recovery Program provides a low-stress holding location for Red Wolves before they are released back into the wild. Wolves are fitted with bright orange collars to distinguish them from coyotes.
To see the webcam, CLICK HERE.