Using Landscape Genetics to Investigate Red Wolf-Coyote Hybridization and Coyote Colonization of Kentucky

The red wolf is a critically endangered canid species that numbers < 100 individuals in the wild. In contrast, the coyote has rapidly expanded its range and population size to include all the lower 48 states. Small population size of red wolves has led to extensive hybridization between red wolves and coyotes over the past 50 years, making species recovery of red wolves problematic. In partnership with Louisiana Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we assess the level of genetic introgression of red wolf genes into the coyote population of the southeastern U.S. We also examine statewide genetic characteristics of coyotes in Kentucky including potential colonization paths into the state. This project is led by M.S. forestry grad student Stratton Hatfield.

John J. Cox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Biology
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