Red wolves live in small family packs of between two to eight individuals. Like other wolves, the red wolf's population was drastically reduced due to persecution by man and the destruction of its habitat due to agriculture and logging. By 1970, only a tiny population of this species remained in a small area of woodland in far southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana, and the continued existence of the species without human intervention appeared highly unlikely.
Therefore, about a year earlier, 14 red wolves, carefully selected for the highest degree of genetic purity (the species is known to have interbred with coyotes as red wolf numbers declined) had been removed from the wild to begin a captive breeding effort to save the species from extinction.
The red wolf recovery objective calls for a captive population of around 200 wolves and a wild stock of over 300 in order to maintain appropriate levels of genetic diversity.
Today, there are approximately 275-300 red wolves alive, about 220 of which are captives. The rest are living wild.
Considering that all of these wolves originate from the 14 animals taken from the wild back in 1969, the recovery program appears hopeful.