When Arkansas State University chose the “Red Wolves” as their new track mascot in 2008, little thought was given to the educational platform that would be created to help save an endangered Native American species. Today, A-State plays a growing national role in American red wolf conservation and education efforts in partnership with the St. Louis Endangered Wolf Center.
The red wolf is a smaller, more slender cousin of the gray wolf with a reddish coloring that once thrived throughout the southeastern United States, including Arkansas and Crowley’s Ridge, where the A-C campus is located. State. Red wolves prey on small animals such as rabbits, raccoons, and small deer, so they pose essentially no threat to humans or farm animals. Yet often misinterpreted as threatening, they were nearly hunted to extinction in the 1980s.
Why do we need red wolves?
It is true that red wolves are hunters. They are known as apex predators, which means that their place is at the top of the food chain. Red wolves eat meat and generally survive on a diet of wild game. They tend to study their prey and prefer to eliminate sick and injured animals rather than a fighting animal. Throughout history, there have never been any credible reports of a red wolf harming a human, so fears of them preying on children are unfounded. Red wolves are also unlikely to target domestic or companion animals, except in extreme situations when all other food sources have been depleted.
It is also true that red wolves are very beneficial for the environment. In a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade,” the reintroduction of an apex predator can help restore balance to the ecosystem in which it lives. Throughout the Southeast, research has shown that reintroducing red wolves to the wild may be one of the most promising ways to control and ultimately eradicate chronic wasting. Red wolves can also help control the population of pest animals such as raccoons and opossums and even coyotes, which have lost much of their natural fear of humans. This would lead to an increase in ground-nesting birds such as quail and turkey – a win for hunters.
Wayaho has made it to W.O.L.F. on December 11, 2016 after a cross-country trip from Hot Springs, Arkansas. The path of him to W.O.L.F. It wasn’t easy Wayaho lived with her two sisters in a private home in rural Arkansas. When the owner died, the three brothers were able to escape their enclosure and began wandering through a rural neighborhood, looking for food in garbage dumps. People were afraid of the trio because they looked like wolves and would come out of the forest in search of food. One of the women was struck by a car and died. The other woman was shot, something Wayaho likely witnessed.