Date: 1/31/17 1:17 pm From: Brent Ortego <brentortego...> Subject: [texbirds] Re: Harris County TX wolf
Dennis Russell was one of the leading researchers on Red Wolf during the 1970's. I pasted below an abstract of a paper he wrote regarding surveys conducted in Texas. Much of this research went undetected because the public was not very aware of its status at the time. Working with TPWD since 1982, we received reports of Red Wolves every year, but none were ever confirmed. Coyote cross with a large dog can resemble a wolf.
There undoubtedly like most species had a few which lingered, but in this situation it was a biology and numbers game working against the wolf. Animals needed to breed and the most likely mates were expanding populations of coyotes and dogs. In a very quick period, the genes of the few that escaped trapping would have been diluted by interbreeding with other species.
Dennis Russell. 1971. Distribution And Relative Density Of The Red Wolf In Texas. Proc. Annu. Conf. SE Assoc. Fish and Wildlife Agencies 25:131-137
Summer and winter transects were run throughout the range of the red wolf (Canis rufus) along the Texas Gulf Coast utilizing a handcranked siren to elicit howling. The red wolf could be distinguished from the coyote (C. latram) by its patterns of vocalization. Slight confusion was caused by wolves which, located close to the siren barked like domestic dogs. No significant differences were detected between the effectiveness of the technique in winter or summer or between two or four-mile spacings of the howling posts along transects. Heavy fog did cause a significant decrease in the number of responses and high winds probably limited the effectiveness of the technique. Many areas thought to be occupied by red wolves were found to contain only coyotes. The coyote appears to be expanding its range into the marshes and coastal prairies which are the last stronghold of the red wolf. Isolated wolf populations were located in Harris and Brazoria Counties along with the major population grou ping in Liberty, Chambers and Jefferson Counties. Highest densities of wolves are found on the prairie. There appears to be no genetic linkage between Texas and Louisiana populations because of a canid-free zone surrounding Lake Sabine. Populations of wolves appear to be rapidly disappearing and without rapid protection and aid it is likely that the species will become extinct in the wild within the decade.
Brent Ortego Victoria, TX
________________________________ From: Joseph Kennedy <josephkennedy36...> Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2017 2:16 PM To: Brent Ortego Cc: <ray.porter314...>; <passerinaciris12...>; <texbirds...> Subject: Re: [texbirds] Re: Harris County TX wolf
I have seen red wolves twice, both just across the border in Louisiana. One young animal was caught after the youngsters were flooded out of a culvert at Gum Cove Louisiana. That animal eventually went into a zoo breeding programs. The mother abandoned them after the lair flooded.
About the same time I had a female with young in a long cleared area near the Audubon sanctuary west of holly beach Louisiana. The young were in aa dense rose thicket and the mother walked around the thicket a couple of times giving good views. The id was by a group of mammal experts from Missouri that had studied the wolves.
Somewhere, I should have slides of both animals.
Just after I moved to Texas, the Houston Post had an article about wolves howling south of town but within sight of the Houston skyline. Apparently in the Brazos bottoms? but it did not state that they were present at the time of the article.
In early 1984, I was on a large ranch again on the brazos just north of 290 where the owner claimed to have a couple of wolves. Trying to remember, It was probably a couple of years before that that he had seen them near his cows. Between his property and his neighbors, there was probably several thousand acres of scrubland and thickets. I met him years later and the animals were long gone but lots of coyotes around which he said were not common when he had wolves.
On Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 8:42 AM, Brent Ortego <brentortego...><mailto:<brentortego...>> wrote: The last pure Red Wolves were reported to have been trapped and placed into a captive breeding program during the 1970's. Since the species was low in numbers and readily interbred with coyotes and dogs, it is believed that any individuals which escaped capture would have genetically been bred out of existence.