Wild canids are special to me. On the North American front I am particularly fond of red wolves, the coyote and their hybrids the “coywolf”.
The red wolf is declared extinct in the wild other than a handful of captive-bred animals that have been released into various remote areas. A new study conducted on road-killed canids from Galveston Island, TX however shows that red wolf genetics still exist in the wild.
The reason for extinction designation was hybridization with coyotes-accacerbated by wholesale slaughter under the guise of predator control.
The term “coywolf” is most often used for gray wolf/coyote hybrids but it is equally fitting for the offspring of coyotes and red wolves.
My friend Mark Hines has for the last three years been getting the most amazing videos of a family of animals I believe has some red wolf in their lineage down the road. These are from Orange County, TX in an area literally less than five miles away from where the last “pure” red wolves were captured for the federal breeding program in 1980.
Mark has given us an incredible look into the lives of these animals that are no doubt mostly coyote but look like they have some red wolf traits somewhere in there. These clips show puppies born this spring. Most of us have seen coyotes in the wild but how many times have you seen pups? This is a unique opportunity to learn about the top predator in most of the state and see a side of America’s most common canid.
Naturalists like Mark are an important part of keeping the awareness of wildlife at a high level and allowing us to get an incredible glimpse at some things rarely seen by human eyes. It inspires me to want to hit the field and see what I can encounter.
Chester Moore, Jr.