By EMERY P. DALESIO | Associated Press
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge is considering whether to block hunters from targeting coyotes in five North Carolina counties where endangered red wolves are being shot and killed by mistake.
U.S. District Judge Terrance Boyle heard arguments Tuesday by conservationists who sued over hunting in northeastern North Carolina near a wildlife refuge that's home to the world's only wild red wolves. The judge's decision could be weeks away, and his ruling could be appealed.
The state Wildlife Resources Commission last summer approved coyote hunting in the region where red wolves were reintroduced into the wild.
Coyotes and red wolves are easily confused. At least seven red wolves out of a population of about 100 have been shot to death since the lawsuit was filed in October.