Thursday, March 09, 2017

Mexica wolf recovery effort finds wild wolves almost all brothers and sisters

Right now, roughly 100 Mexican gray wolves roam the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico. From a genetic point of view, they’re almost all brothers and sisters. And that worries the federal biologists charged with establishing a self-sustaining wild population of wolves in the Southwest. It also largely explains the sometimes-controversial strategies the biologists are using to bolster the wild packs — and a plan to release additional wolf packs in Rim Country — hundreds of miles from the remote release sites they’ve used so far. Biologists say the wolves face a genetic bottleneck, which will leave them prone to assorted diseases and mutations, reducing the long-term odds of their survival. All the known Mexican gray wolves in the world are descended from the last seven of their kind captured in the wild. Those seven wolves gave rise to the captive breeding program that has produced new wolves released into the wild since 1998. But most of the wolves now in the wild are descended from a single female, who was among the first wolves released...more

So there you have it:  a program run by inbreds, for inbreds.

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