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6 Week Old Red Wolf Puppy (Canis rufus)

We must protect our planet and the animals that live there. Animal and plant species that are endangered or threatened are identified and protected under North Carolina’s endangered species policy. This policy is implemented and enforced by the state as well as the federal government.

The Wildlife Diversity Program of the Wildlife Commission manages projects and programs that benefit nongame species. North Carolina is home to more than 700 nongame species, including songbirds and other birds, reptiles and amphibians, freshwater mussels, fish, and crustaceans. Support the Wildlife Diversity Program by contributing to the N.C. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund. The destruction of habitat and pollution have put dozens of species at risk in North Carolina.

I am passionate about animals. I adore them. Every time I see one on the roadside, I cry a little. So I guess you could call me an animal lover. Because of this, I’m passionate about keeping them safe. It’s critical we protect the ones we have left. Here’s more information about protecting wildlife in North Carolina.

  • Red Wolf

    The red wolf can be found in eastern North Carolina. It’s extremely close to extinction, with only between 15 and 17 estimated to live in the wild, according to October data. There are 241 of them in captivity.

  • Gray Bat

    Unlike most bats, the bats’ wings attach at the ankles, not at the toes. Western North Carolina is their range, but it is further restricted by their need to hibernate in large groups inside caves. The bats will waste energy if they are disturbed, and can even leave the cave and die as a result. Scared bats may even drop their young. Flooding can damage their caves, including those near reservoirs.

  • Cape Fear Shiner

    Freshwater fish can be found in the upper Cape Fear River Basin. This species has been on the endangered list since 1987. The species has, however, seen improvements due to breeding programs and dam removals. Yellow, pointed fins cover the fish’s body.

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  • Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

    The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is the world’s smallest sea turtle. In the 1990s, turtles started to make a comeback in the Gulf of Mexico. However, since 2010, the population has plateaued. Turtles can be tangled in fishing gear, hit by boats, or injured by underwater noise.

  • Leatherback Turtle

    The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle in the world, reaching 6 feet and weighing 1,000 pounds as an adult. Turtles don’t have scales or a hard shell and haven’t had either since the dinosaurs. They can get tangled in fishing gear, hit by boats, or injured by underwater noise.

  • Carolina Northern Flying Squirrel

    The gliding mammal can be found in the cold mountains of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. The critter has been around since the most recent ice age but has seen declining numbers. They are so cute!

  • Loggerhead Shrike

    Loggerhead shrikes have gray upper parts and white underparts. When the bird is in flight, there is considerable white showing on its wings and tail. Black trim serves to separate the gray of the head from the white of the throat and underparts. In-flight, this bird resembles the familiar and more common mockingbird, and at least one popular field guide compares them for clarification.

  • Humpback Whale

    The humpback whale’s population was cut by more than 95% before a commercial whaling moratorium was put into place in 1985. The whale is having a comeback but is still at risk of being tangled in fishing gear, being hit by boats, or being injured by underwater noise.

  • Sperm Whale

    Whales range from 15 to 45 tons in weight and live up to 60 years, making them the biggest toothed whales. Commercial whaling nearly decimated them, but they are now recovering. The whales are at risk of being tangled in fishing gear, struck by boats, or injured by underwater noise.

  • Carolina Heelsplitter

    Carolina heelsplitter is a bivalve mollusk in the family Unionidae, a species of freshwater mussel. It is called the “Carolina heelsplitter” because, in life, the edges of the valves protrude from the substrate and could cut the feet of people walking along the river bed.

  • Red-cockaded Woodpecker

    More than 50 years ago, the red-cockaded woodpecker was listed as endangered. There are fewer old longleaf pine trees due to the commercial timber industry – the birds prefer old longleaf pine trees that have only 3% of the population they once had.

  • Carolina Gopher Frog

    Compared to toads, Carolina gopher frogs are characterized by warty skin, a large head, and a chunky body. There are prominent, cobblestone-like warts and distinct folds on the sides of its body. With numerous dark spots, the color varies from pale gray to tan to nearly black. Its belly is mottled with dark pigment and its thighs and groins are colored yellow or orange.

  • Ornate Chorus Frog

    An ornate chorus frog is a small, stout frog that is usually reddish-brown, but it can also be tan, grayish, or green. There is a bold black stripe running from each eye to the shoulder, and dark spots on the sides, lower back, and near the groin. The groin and underside of each thigh are spotted with bright yellow. Pine forests and pine savannas cover the southern Coastal Plain, where these frogs live. Most of the time, they are nocturnal and seldom encountered outside of breeding season. The chorus frogs can be heard from December to March. Breeding occurs in temporary ponds, and females lay clusters of 10 to 100 eggs on vegetation. Tadpoles metamorphose in eight to twelve weeks.

  • River Frog

    North Carolina’s second-largest frog is this very rare species. Only the bullfrog is larger. River frogs resemble bullfrogs, but are often brown or olive in color, lacking bright green markings. Its belly is primarily gray or blackish, mottled with white.
  • Mabee’s Salamander

    The Mabee’s salamander is a slim, brown, or black salamander with a brown or gray belly. Both sides of its body are covered with white flecks. North Carolina is home to an endangered population.

  • Eastern Tiger Salamander

    The eastern tiger salamander is named for the yellowish blotches running down its dorsum that may make it appear striped like a tiger. A mole salamander, the eastern tiger salamander spends most of its time underground and is most active at night. Except during its breeding season, it rarely emerges from the ground.

  • Green Salamander

    Rare and attractive green salamanders have become something of a symbol for the conservation of amphibian species, and are a perfect example of how creatures with highly specialized lifestyles and habitat requirements have been severely harmed by humans. The dorsal ground color of the green salamander is black, gray, or dark brownish, with bright green or yellowish-green patches that resemble lichens. The belly is pale yellow or white. The head and body are somewhat flattened, the tail and legs are rather long, and the toes are slightly webbed with enlarged, squarish tips.