Protection of Red Wolves

Protection of Red Wolves - Photo by William Doran
Case Name: 
2012: Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute v. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Gordon S. Myers, Executive Director, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Nature of Case: 

In September 2012, the Animal Welfare Institute and its co-plaintiffs brought suit against the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission over the Commission’s decision to allow spotlight hunting of coyotes at night throughout North Carolina, including in the area inhabited by the only wild population of red wolves, one of the world’s most endangered animals. The lawsuit alleged that the Commission violated the North Carolina Administrative Procedure Act when it adopted a temporary rule to allow coyote hunting at night with artificial lights on public and private lands throughout the state, placing an endangered species in harm’s way. Wake County Superior Court suspended this night hunting rule on November 21, 2012, and granted AWI et al. injunctive relief, enjoining the Commission from allowing night hunting of coyotes with artificial lights within the Red Wolf Recovery Area in Dare, Tyrrell, Hyde, Washington, and Beaufort counties under the temporary rule.

Court: Superior Court for Wake County

2013 Case Name:
Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Animal Welfare Institute v. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission et al.

Nature of Case:
The 2012 victory applied only to the temporary rule. AWI and co-plaintiffs still had to address the Commission’s authorization of all coyote hunting in the five county Red Wolf Recovery Area. We brought suit on October 17, 2013, arguing that, by authorizing the shooting of coyotes within the Red Wolf Recovery Area, the commission is causing unlawful take (i.e. harass, harm, hunt, or kill) of the red wolf.

Court: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina

Plaintiffs: 
Animal Welfare Institute; Defenders of Wildlife; Red Wolf Coalition
Defendants: 
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Gordon S. Myers, Executive Director, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Status: 

State APA Complaint filed on September 7, 2012

Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed on October 23, 2012

60 Day Notice Letter (for night hunting) served on October 23, 2012

Hearing on Motion for Preliminary Injunction on November 20, 2012

Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction signed on November 23, 2012

60 Day Notice Letter (for daytime hunting) served on July 30, 2013

Federal ESA Complaint filed on October 17, 2013

Read more about the background of the case, check out case media, view our additional resources related to this case, or learn more about endangered species.