For the past week there has been a fire burning in eastern North Carolina. What’s the connection between a fire in eastern NC and the Museum of Life + Science here in Durham, why write a post about that fire?

Well, besides the smoke drifting in to the Triangle on today’s easterly winds, that fire is burning in Alligator National Wildlife Refuge. Still, what’s the connection to us at the Museum? The Red Wolves we have here at the Museum are part of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. Alligator River Wildlife Refuge is the only place in the country, the world, that Red Wolves (Canis rufus) roam free, about 100-120 of them.

Now, I’m sure any sound-minded adult Red Wolf in the vicinity of the fire will move aside, get out of the fire’s path. I’m also sure that the habitat will recover, after all, that pine, scrub and pocosin habitat down at Alligator River NWR was created and sustains itself through fire. My only concern would be with any active dens in the area of the fire.

I don’t know if and where there are active dens in that particular part of the refuge where the fire is currently burning, but if there are, I hope that either the young are old enough to move themselves out of harm’s way or, if not, that the parents will be able to get the job done. I trust that they will.

2 responses to Fire!

  1. Sherry says:

    There’s only one red wolf pack in the area of the fires and the Red Wolf Recovery Team say the wolves are fine (as of May 14).
    I was relieved to learn this info!

    • Greg Dodge says:

      That’s good news, Sherry.
      With all of the coverage that fire received when it was at its peak I thought it odd that there was no mention of the wolves, given the fact that that area of our state is the ONLY place where they roam relatively free.
      Animals do a great job of protecting themselves in situations like fire, especially those animals, and plants, that have evolved in habitats that owe their existence to fire.

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