Monday, August 20, 2018

Red Wolves

Kathryn and I attended the screening of “Starring Down Fate” last Thursday night, 8/16/18 sponsored by the NC Wildlife Federation. This is her report on the event.

Staring Down Fate is an award winning documentary about a red wolf biologist, Chris Lucash.  Chris worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a project to reintroduce red wolves into a reserve in eastern North Carolina.  While initially successful the wolf population eventually declined from a high of 100 to 35 when the film was made.  Chris's participation in the field work for the reintroduction project became sporadic and he was diagnosed with ALS.  Parkinson’s, MS,  ALS and Alzheimer’s are all neurodegenerative diseases. ALS is the most severe with a rapid deterioration in physical function followed by death usually within 2 years of diagnosis. A contributing factor in Chris's ALS is the pesticides or other chemicals sprayed in eastern NC where the   wolves are. Chris recalls seeing crop dusters flying overhead as he walked the fields looking for wolf den's.   I believe that Garry’s Parkinson’s may have come from whatever was sprayed on the golf courses he lived on when he was growing up.   After the movie, there was a Q & A with the director. Garry raised his hand and told him he had Parkinson’s and thanked him for making this movie. He got hugs from both the director and the NC Wildlife Federation CEO. Anyway, it the whole night was very emotional. ALS eventually  kills Chris as the American political environment is slowly killing the red wolf. There are only 35 red wolves left living in the wild. You can help the red wolves by sending your comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service encouraging them to continue the red wolf program by sterilizing coyotes, reintroducing more red wolves, and expanding the protected area for wild red wolves. Here is the link … or  . You can also visit the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and the Red Wolf Education and Health Center in Columbia, NC and symbolically adopt a red wolf  here. . 

We did and got Wolfe, shown here with his friends Parkie Montreal and Parkie Kyoto.  


Garry Ballenger