Unfortunately red wolves, which are not as large as their grey wolf* relatives, interbreed with coyotes, a species not native to the region. The numerous coyote is considered a "pest species". The US Fish & Wildlife Service sterilizes coyotes living in red wolf habitat. Shooting sterilized coyotes will defeat effective biological control of coyotes and further jeopardize the survival of the native red wolf population. A National Forest Service ranger was fatally shot by a Georgia hunter who claimed he was shooting at coyote eye shine in the night. The Southern Environmental Law Center filed a court challenge to the temporary rule allowing spotlight hunting for coyotes at night. A preliminary injunction was granted by Wake County Superior Court to stop night hunting for coyotes in the five counties that are inhabited by red wolves. A permanent rule allowing spotlight hunting of coyotes is still under consideration by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
*Grey wolves are once again being exterminated in the Rocky Mountains since loosing their protected status under the federal Endangered Species Act. Nine Yellowstone Park wolves have been killed since hunting began. The latest victim of this remorseless persecution was the Alpha female of the notable Larmar Valley pack. She was wearing a research telemetry collar when she was killed accross the Park boundary in Wyoming. Such senseless killing makes no-hunting buffer zones around the Park a necessity to protect it's beloved wildlife from UNFRIENDLY humans.