Assessing the Taxonomic Status of the Red Wolf and the Mexican Gray Wolf

Taxonomic classifications of animals can have important implications for conservation efforts. As part of a March 29, 2018 appropriation bill, Congress directed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to obtain an independent assessment on the taxonomic status of the Red Wolf and the Mexican gray wolf. Currently, FWS considers the Red Wolf a valid taxonomic species and the Mexican gray wolf a valid taxonomic subspecies. Both are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Recognizing that new genetic techniques are enabling scientists to distinguish organism groups at finer degrees of resolution than ever before, this study will summarize the current science about the Red wolf and Mexican gray wolf, including research on the animals’ evolutionary history and genetic diversity. A scientific literature review, including genetics research, will be published as part of the study.

Funding for the study has been provided by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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