Section Menu

Behind-the-Scenes of Eastern North Carolina’s Wild Side

This post is part of our Sustain the Wild series, aimed at highlighting the work Wildlands Network is doing to ensure healthy habitat for wildlife, long into the future. Learn more and support here.

Getting a glimpse into the beauty of wildlife in their natural habitats is something that many Wildlands Network staff have the chance to do every day. Carly Creef-Alexander, our Coastal Plain Conservationist based in Manns Harbor, North Carolina, works directly with local landowners to garner support and tolerance for red wolves, one of most critically endangered mammals in the world. The camera traps Carly places on the property of these landowners (with their permission, of course!) help reveal the amazing diversity of wildlife that share the land—including white-tailed deer, black bear, gray foxes, and red wolves. Below are some of Carly’s favorite photos from this project, illustrating how her efforts to build appreciation for surrounding nature are helping sustain the wild, one camera trap photo at a time.

Red wolves are shy and elusive, and one of the most critically endangered mammals in the world. Some of the last remaining wild red wolves inhabit eastern North Carolina, where Wildlands Network is working hard to advocate for their recovery through advocacy and on-the-ground outreach.

The canid pictured here is most likely a red wolf with its distinct reddish color. However, red wolves and coyotes can be hard to tell apart from a distance, and often the only way to distinguish the two species through DNA testing. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses GPS collars and telemetry equipment to track the few remaining red wolves in the wild. 
I chose this photo because of the connection you feel with the bear when looking at the photo. We have a huge bear population in eastern North Carolina. Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge attracts visitors from all over the country to see black bears in their natural habitat. The black bear is a celebrated species in eastern North Carolina. The Black Bear Festival is held here every June, and works to educate the public on black bears and celebrate them with a weekend of festivities.
This photo of a fawn is unique in the way you can see the veins of his/her ears in the sunlight. It is a reminder of how they’re perfectly adapted to hearing predators approach in a thick, swampy area such as this.
I chose this photo of a gray fox because of how clearly this photo shows its distinctive fur coloration. This camera had multiple foxes that used this path as a way to access the Albemarle Sound behind the camera. A few of the foxes had fish in their mouths, which serves as a reminder of the resourcefulness of the species.
The white-tailed deer as a species plays an important role in our red wolf recovery program. A common argument against red wolves is that they are decimating the white-tailed deer population. However, the majority of our trail cameras have a strong deer presence. This camera, for example, shows up to ten different bucks accessing the same trail over a two month period.

Tell us what you think! Note: All comments are moderated before appearing here.