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Red Wolf (Canis rufus) Recovery: A Review with Suggestions for Future Research.

Hinton JW, Chamberlain MJ, Rabon DR - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Bottom Line: By the 1970s, government-supported eradication campaigns reduced red wolves to a remnant population of less than 100 individuals on the southern border of Texas and Louisiana.We explore these three challenges and, within each challenge, we illustrate how research can be used to resolve problems associated with red wolf-coyote interactions, effects of inbreeding, and demographic responses to human-caused mortality.We hope this illustrates the utility of research to advance restoration of red wolves.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. jhinton@uga.edu.

ABSTRACT
By the 1970s, government-supported eradication campaigns reduced red wolves to a remnant population of less than 100 individuals on the southern border of Texas and Louisiana. Restoration efforts in the region were deemed unpromising because of predator-control programs and hybridization with coyotes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the last remaining red wolves from the wild and placed them in a captive-breeding program. In 1980, the USFWS declared red wolves extinct in the wild. During 1987, the USFWS, through the Red Wolf Recovery Program, reintroduced red wolves into northeastern North Carolina. Although restoration efforts have established a population of approximately 70-80 red wolves in the wild, issues of hybridization with coyotes, inbreeding, and human-caused mortality continue to hamper red wolf recovery. We explore these three challenges and, within each challenge, we illustrate how research can be used to resolve problems associated with red wolf-coyote interactions, effects of inbreeding, and demographic responses to human-caused mortality. We hope this illustrates the utility of research to advance restoration of red wolves.

No MeSH data available.


Historic and current range of red wolves (Canis rufus) in North America.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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animals-03-00722-f001: Historic and current range of red wolves (Canis rufus) in North America.

Mentions: Perceived threats to human enterprise have historically motivated efforts to exterminate large carnivores such as wolves, bears, and lions. In particular, wolves have been extirpated from much of their historical ranges in North America by government-supported eradication campaigns protecting agricultural and livestock interests. However, changes in American societal beliefs have resulted in profound changes to how wolves are perceived. The passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) paved the way for restoration of wolf populations that were severely reduced or extirpated during the 19th and early 20th centuries. When the ESA was legislated, gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus) existed as declining remnant populations in the contiguous United States. Although gray wolf populations in Alaska and Canada were stable and the species was not threatened with extinction, red wolves were afforded no refuge. Red wolves were likely the first New World wolf species to come in contact with Europeans and, consequently, the first to be persecuted. Prior to European colonization, red wolves were common in the Eastern United States and they inhabited an area from the Atlantic coast west to central Texas, with the Ohio River Valley, Northern Pennsylvania, and Southern New York being its northernmost range and their distribution extending south to the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 1) [1,2]. At the turn of the 20th century, red wolves were extirpated throughout most of their range and approximately 100 individuals occupied coastal habitats of Eastern Texas and Western Louisiana [3,4]. Declining because of aggressive predator-control programs and surrounded by an expanding coyote (Canis latrans) population, red wolves were incapable of maintaining self-sustaining populations. They began hybridizing with coyotes when they were unable to find conspecific mates and canid populations in the region gradually became genetically admixed [3,5,6]. This generated concerns that the last remaining red wolves would be genetically assimilated into the coyote genome through hybridization, so the Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana populations were targeted for restoration efforts [6].


Red Wolf (Canis rufus) Recovery: A Review with Suggestions for Future Research.

Hinton JW, Chamberlain MJ, Rabon DR - Animals (Basel) (2013)

Historic and current range of red wolves (Canis rufus) in North America.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4494459&req=5

animals-03-00722-f001: Historic and current range of red wolves (Canis rufus) in North America.
Mentions: Perceived threats to human enterprise have historically motivated efforts to exterminate large carnivores such as wolves, bears, and lions. In particular, wolves have been extirpated from much of their historical ranges in North America by government-supported eradication campaigns protecting agricultural and livestock interests. However, changes in American societal beliefs have resulted in profound changes to how wolves are perceived. The passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) paved the way for restoration of wolf populations that were severely reduced or extirpated during the 19th and early 20th centuries. When the ESA was legislated, gray wolves (Canis lupus) and red wolves (Canis rufus) existed as declining remnant populations in the contiguous United States. Although gray wolf populations in Alaska and Canada were stable and the species was not threatened with extinction, red wolves were afforded no refuge. Red wolves were likely the first New World wolf species to come in contact with Europeans and, consequently, the first to be persecuted. Prior to European colonization, red wolves were common in the Eastern United States and they inhabited an area from the Atlantic coast west to central Texas, with the Ohio River Valley, Northern Pennsylvania, and Southern New York being its northernmost range and their distribution extending south to the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 1) [1,2]. At the turn of the 20th century, red wolves were extirpated throughout most of their range and approximately 100 individuals occupied coastal habitats of Eastern Texas and Western Louisiana [3,4]. Declining because of aggressive predator-control programs and surrounded by an expanding coyote (Canis latrans) population, red wolves were incapable of maintaining self-sustaining populations. They began hybridizing with coyotes when they were unable to find conspecific mates and canid populations in the region gradually became genetically admixed [3,5,6]. This generated concerns that the last remaining red wolves would be genetically assimilated into the coyote genome through hybridization, so the Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana populations were targeted for restoration efforts [6].

Bottom Line: By the 1970s, government-supported eradication campaigns reduced red wolves to a remnant population of less than 100 individuals on the southern border of Texas and Louisiana.We explore these three challenges and, within each challenge, we illustrate how research can be used to resolve problems associated with red wolf-coyote interactions, effects of inbreeding, and demographic responses to human-caused mortality.We hope this illustrates the utility of research to advance restoration of red wolves.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. jhinton@uga.edu.

ABSTRACT
By the 1970s, government-supported eradication campaigns reduced red wolves to a remnant population of less than 100 individuals on the southern border of Texas and Louisiana. Restoration efforts in the region were deemed unpromising because of predator-control programs and hybridization with coyotes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the last remaining red wolves from the wild and placed them in a captive-breeding program. In 1980, the USFWS declared red wolves extinct in the wild. During 1987, the USFWS, through the Red Wolf Recovery Program, reintroduced red wolves into northeastern North Carolina. Although restoration efforts have established a population of approximately 70-80 red wolves in the wild, issues of hybridization with coyotes, inbreeding, and human-caused mortality continue to hamper red wolf recovery. We explore these three challenges and, within each challenge, we illustrate how research can be used to resolve problems associated with red wolf-coyote interactions, effects of inbreeding, and demographic responses to human-caused mortality. We hope this illustrates the utility of research to advance restoration of red wolves.

No MeSH data available.