RALEIGH, N.C. -- Environmentalists want a federal judge to block coyote hunting in northeastern North Carolina near a wildlife refuge that's home to the world's only wild red wolves.
The Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups asked a judge to stop coyote hunting until its lawsuit against the hunt is decided. The groups acted because six red wolves out of a population of about 100 have been shot to death since the lawsuit was filed in October.
The wolves are an endangered species and killing one is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. But the animals look like and are easily confused with coyotes.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission this summer approved coyote hunting in a five-county area where red wolves were reintroduced into the wild.