The red wolf origins are uncertain, with taxonomy debated to derive from grey wolf or coyote (or both). Hunting, habitat destruction and coyote competition/hybridization have all contributed to the red wolf becoming close to extinction in the wild. A small colony of captive red wolves is maintained at multiple sites in the USA, derived from a small number of founder individuals from the wild.
Retinal disease in the red wolf
It has been know for some time that certain red wolves have vision problems, but no genetic mutation has been identified. We plan to study the genetics of a small population of North Carolina red wolves in order to attempt to define the gene mutation.
We recently examined some wolves in North Carolina, and a small write-up can be viewed here at the environmental medicine consortium website.
If you would like to donate to our research efforts with the Red Wolf, please do so at this link: make a donationPlease select the "Retinal Research Fund" under the Select a Fund option.