Red wolves are smaller than the more commonly known gray wolves but larger than the coyote. Their coats can be a variety of colors, including black, brown, gray, cinnamon, or yellow. Unlike other wolves, they prefer to hunt alone or with small groups and are known for traveling with only mates and offspring. Red wolves mate for life and offspring are raised equally by both parents.
Until recently, red wolves were almost extinct and were only found in zoos. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association decided to help save the red wolf by breeding them in zoos and returning them to various locations in the wild, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While some reintroduction programs have been successful, the Smokies project has ended due to the poor success of the wolves to produce young in the wild, frequenting public access places in the GSMNP and traveling roadways.