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A Plea for Red Wolf Conservation Throughout Its Recent Distribution

L. David Mech1,2,* and Ronald M. Nowak3

1US Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, 8711 37th Street SE, Jamestown, ND 58401. 2Current address - USDA Northern Research Station, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108. 32101 Greenwich Street, Falls Church, VA 22043. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 22, Issue 1 (2023): N23–N27

Canis rufus (Red Wolf) is one of the most endangered mammals in North America. However, genes of the Red Wolf persist across much of the species’ original range, carried predominantly within C. latrans (Coyote) populations. It is now known that such genes are distributed from extreme north-central Texas through most of eastern Texas to southern Louisiana. Publicizing of the most recent findings of Red Wolf genes in Coyotes of southern Louisiana emphasized that area for intensive conservation efforts. Such efforts could be applied throughout the entire known distribution of those rare genes, not just in the small area of southern Louisiana recently publicized. Because conservation efforts might be hindered by local conditions and circumstances, expanding geographic options for their application could make the difference in their successs.

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