Critic offers convincing case to House Subcommittee

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Red Wolf program a ‘failed experiment,’ claims landowner Jett Ferebee

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Editor’s note: The following is a verbatim transcript of remarks presented in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, Sept. 21, before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jett Ferebee

Jett Ferebee

Dear Members – Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations:

My name is Jett Ferebee and I am a landowner in Tyrrell County, NC. I also served on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Team this past year.


I have watched my family farm be destroyed by an arrogant USFWS that refused to obey their very own Federal Rules governing their Non Essential Experimental Population of human engineered and selectively bred “Red Wolves.”

The Endangered Species Act 10j rules that USFWS refused to obey were specifically put in place to provide landowners protection from a Non Essential Experimental Population of an endangered species. In my quest to save my farm from this fraudulent USFWS experiment and to protect the wildlife that remained on my farm from the non-native invasive USFWS “Red Wolf,” I have uncovered the many inconvenient truths surrounding this program. I can verify each below fact/truth using USFWS documents.

It is important to note that a Non Essential Experimental Population is just that. It is not essential to the continued existence of the species. It is an experiment to determine if a species can be successfully reintroduced. After almost 30 years of efforts, continual releases, constant veterinary management, erosion of private property rights, and wasting millions of taxpayer dollars, the USFWS now has fewer red wolf breeding pairs than it originally started with in 1987. They began with 4 breeding pairs and now there are 3 breeding pairs or less.

With this complete and documented failure to create a self sustaining population, no physical evidence that the “Red Wolf “selectively bred in a zoo in Washington State was ever native to North Carolina, and now the third DNA study to conclude the new modern “Red Wolf” is just a hybrid (75% coyote and 25% grey wolf) and thus not protected by the ESA. It is time for USFWS to end this charade.

Instead, USFWS is being held hostage by Non-Governmental Organization “Conservation” groups, lawyers and scientists who have somehow managed to turn the Endangered Species Act into a business plan. Wolves have become their profit centers, end of story. The incestuous relationships between the above four groups has created severe conflicts of interest monetarily, politically and scientifically. It is extremely difficult to imagine that an objective and rational decision could ever be made by USFWS.

I sat in a Federal Court room last week as an army of NGO’s and their attorneys pleaded with a judge to not allow me to remove wolves on my farm as secifically provided by Federal Rule. The irony was that court records showed that the plaintiff’s Executive Director of the Red Wolf Coalition had only seen a “Red Wolf” in the wild on two occasions in her life and it was likely just a coyote.

Below are verifiable facts I would like to submit for the administrative record:


1. USFWS illegally released 64 out of 132 red wolves onto private land while holding public meetings and agreeing to Federal rules stating that wolves would be released and managed on Federal lands only. Section 7 consults only authorized 12 of the 132 releases. The 120 unauthorized releases have now bankrupted the captive breeding program.

2.  USFWS secretly adopted “internal policies” to not remove red wolves from private land as agreed to with the citizens of eastern North Carolina in their 1986 and 1995 Federal rules governing this program.

3.  After 30 years of efforts (many illegal) and millions of taxpayer dollars, there now exist fewer red wolf pairs in NC than when the program began. USFWS started with 4 breeding pairs and now only have 3 breeding pairs 30 years later.  Only one red wolf pair now resides on Federal land.

4. 90% of all red wolves now reside on private land.  Sixty out of 64 suspected illegal gunshot deaths of red wolves occurred on private land, exactly where USFWS promised the citizens of eastern North Carolina the wolves would not be.  514 private landowners have now written to USFWS asking for wolves to be removed from their private land.  NCWRC has passed a resolution demanding that all illegally released wolves be removed from private lands in NC and the Red Wolf program terminated in our State.

5. USFWS has systematically flooded the Pocosin Lakes Wildlife Refuge to the extent that NO red wolves now inhabit this “ideal red wolf habitat.”

6.  The critical success factor of “no coyotes” on the Albemarle Peninsula no longer exists and rampant interbreeding with coyotes has doomed the success of this program.  We are merely seeing a repeat of history, which led USFWS to remove the last remaining red wolves from the wild in Texas over 30 years ago in order to save them from extinction due to “hybrid swarm.”

7.  “Adaptive Management” (sterilization of coyotes) has failed. It was never physically possible to sterilize enough coyotes in eastern NC to make a difference.  Biologists simply cannot sterilize coyotes across 1.7 million acres. Mattamuskeet Ventures farm was used extensively by USFWS to test this hypothesis and was declared “Zone One” for adaptive management. USFWS was granted full access to this private land. This spring, with native wildlife populations falling and coyotes/hybrids increasing, Mattamuskeet Ventures demanded USFWS remove all wolves from their land. Wolves had not kept coyotes away as promised by USFWS biologists. In thirty days of trapping – 2 wolves, 4 hybrids, and 10 coyotes were removed from this unique property, which served as USFWS Zone One for the most intensive USFWS “adaptive management” activities.  87.5% of trapped canids were nonwolf.  Two-thirds of the “wolf like” canids were actually hybrids.

60% of all known wolves are now paired with a coyote. Zone 1 of Adaptive Management – Dare County had 58 of the 132 wolves released there and now only has one breeding pair. Adaptive Management has failed to successfully control hybridization of Red Wolves and coyotes.

8.  NC is not within the historic range of the Red Wolf as required by the Endangered Species Act. Despite countless efforts by many scientists and agencies, USFWS has yet to produce one piece of physical evidence that a red wolf ever existed in our State.

9. In August of 2016, using the most modern and best available science, a Princeton/UCLA (vonHoldt/Wayne) genome wide DNA study concluded the red wolf is not a species, but a hybrid (75% coyote and 25% grey wolf) therefore not protected by ESA.


Jett Ferebee