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Wild dogs in Texas linked to endangered red wolf

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The parents of this 7-week old red wolf pup keep an eye on their offspring at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., in 2017. A pack of wild canines found frolicking near the beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast have led to the discovery that red wolves, or at least an animal closely aligned with them, are enduring in secluded parts of the Southeast nearly 40 years after the animal was thought to have become extinct in the wild.

DALLAS >> Researchers say a pack of wild canines found frolicking near the beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast carry a substantial amount of red wolf genes.

The finding has led to a new understanding that the red wolf DNA is remarkably resilient after decades of human hunting, loss of habitat and other factors had led the animal to near decimation.

The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980, but some were captured for a successful captive breeding program. Those canines became part of an experimental wild population in North Carolina.

The genetic analysis found that the canines from Galveston Island in Texas appear to be a hybrid of red wolf and coyote A scientist involved in the research says additional testing is needed to label the animal.

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