Decision imminent on fate of world's only wild red wolves

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to announce in September whether it will maintain, modify or abandon a 30-year effort to return the wolves to the wild in eastern North Carolina.

Meanwhile, conservationists say the wildlife service is already neglecting its duty and have asked a federal judge to step in.

A Sept. 14 hearing is scheduled on their efforts to block what they say are harmful or lethal ways of removing wolves from private land.

Once common around the Southeast, the red wolf had been considered extinct in the wild as of 1980 because of factors including hunting and habitat loss.

Releases of red wolves bred in captivity started in 1987.