Red Wolf Decline Spurs Ecosystem Shift: Study Shows Cascading Effects on Prey and Competitor Species, Warning on Predator Reintroductions

The decline of red wolf populations in eastern North Carolina, once thriving after reintroduction in 1987, prompted a study on ecosystem impacts. With a peak at 120 animals, a subsequent crash due to increased mortality and reduced support revealed correlations. Using camera traps from 2015 to 2021, the study noted increased prey and competitor species, such as black bears and bobcats, following the red wolf decline. This research emphasizes the ecological repercussions of large predator reintroductions and highlights the vulnerability of ecosystems when predator populations diminish to critical levels.

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