The majority of the maintenance work at Sandy Ridge was completed last summer, just before the arrival of Hurricane Irene (Category 1 hurricane making landfall near Cape Lookout, North Carolina on August 27, 2011). The work involved clearing trees that had grown into pens and through the perimeter fencing, as well as repairing damage to fences from fallen trees. Luckily, none of the trees were as large as the trees that fell during Hurricane Isabel, a Category 2 hurricane that made landfall between Cape Lookout and Ocracoke Island, North Carolina on September 18, 2003.
Hurricane Isabel tracked its way across the mainland causing a great deal of damage to the Sandy Ridge facility, uprooting trees and destroying fences and sheds. Unfortunately, one large tree killed a captive red wolf when it fell on the den box where the wolf was riding out the storm. The destruction from Hurricane Isabel required many months of cleanup and repair. Thankfully, Irene proved to be much easier on the Red Wolf Recovery Program staff and wolves. Other than a few downed branches and limbs, the only real damage was to one side of an unoccupied pen that was hit by a fallen tree. Fortunately, this time, no wolves were harmed! -- Ryan