Red Wolf Ecotourism in North Carolina by Defenders of Wildlife

Wildlife watchers alone spent $45.7 billion in the United States in 2006, and wolf-oriented ecotourism is part of this larger social trend. Many Americans have shown themselves willing to travel long distances to see wolves, and wolf-related activities have generated economic benefits throughout North America.

First reintroduced to northeastern North Carolina in 1987, about 100 to 120 red wolves now roam in the wild. A 2005 study found that the red wolf and wildlife may increase tourism throughout the “Inner” Banks region. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge holds weekly howling tours in the summer as part of this tourism.

Red wolf activities are forecast to attract over 25,000 households and bring in about $37.5 million to eastern North Carolina, boosting tourism by up to 19% in the region.

A Red Wolf Education Center could potentially bring more than $1 million in gate receipts and food or gift purchases over a summer season.

More than 1,000 local residents and visitors from across the US participated in howling safaris in the summer of 2007.

Additional Resources

Defenders of Wildlife Southeast Wolves Recovery Efforts

The Red Wolf Coalition

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Project

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