Groups want court to end capture, killing of red wolves

Three conservation groups have asked a federal court to halt the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service practice of capturing and killing red wolves in eastern North Carolina, and to end the authorization of landowners to do the same thing.

The request was filed in U.S. District Court on behalf of the groups, which were represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Federal officials have been studying the recovery program with an eye toward making changes or possibly ending it. SELC senior attorney Sierra Weaver said the groups worry that there won't be a population left if the captures and killings continue.

It's estimated that the population of red wolves roaming eastern North Carolina has dwindled to between about 50 and 75. It was near 100 for more than a decade.