A new report finds that female coyotes can give birth to mixed wolf-coyote pups. The study could have implications in the debate regarding placing wolves on the endangered species according to one researcher.
Three groups, including the U.S. Geological Society did the research.
U.S. G. S.'s Dr. David Mech says the study adds a bit of information to an on-going debate among geneticists about whether eastern gray wolves are a unique species from it's western U.S. counterpart....
"....if a male wolf were to breed with a female coyote...our results show it is at least possible for the coyote to be able to produce hybrid off-spring and nurture them..."
Mech adds there's no evidence of a coyote- wolf hybrid. He says it's part of an academic debate going on among geneticists, whether the wolf in the eastern U.S. is the same as the west. He says their research proved a western wolf could mate and nurture coyote-wolf hybrids. He says there is a possibility eastern wolves were part of a coyote-wolf hybrid long ago...
"....this research we just completed would at least indicate if such a mating did take place, it would be possible for the hybrids to survive..."
He says the wolves here look like their western counterparts, but they have the one gene that indicates inter-breeding with coyotes. He says this evidence might mean the wolves in the eastern U.S. and Canada might be a seperate species. If they are, Mech says, they could go on the federal Endangered Species list. He says more research needs to be done. More information is at this link.