FILE - In this June 13, 2017 file photo, a red wolf female peers back at her 7-week old pup in their habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper has written a letter urging the federal government to reconsider plans to shrink the territory of the only remaining wild population of endangered red wolves. Cooper's letter says he wants the wolves' current five-county territory kept intact. That contradicts condemnation of the red wolf recovery program by North Carolina's Republican-majority wildlife commission. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Governor asks feds to maintain endangered wolf protection

July 31, 2018 - 1:59 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor is urging federal authorities not to reduce protections for endangered red wolves that can only be found in the state.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Monday, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper asked the agency to maintain the current five-county conservation area for the wolves. Only about 35 red wolves remain in the wild, all in eastern North Carolina.

The federal government in June proposed shrinking the current conservation area and lifting restrictions on shooting wolves that leave it. North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton says those changes could lead to the species' extinction.

Cooper's request clashes with the stance taken by North Carolina's own Republican appointee-controlled Wildlife Resources Commission, which opposes federal red wolf recovery efforts.

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