The endangered species protection status of gray wolves is being questioned. Should these animals be removed from the category?
Studies have shown that the so-called scientific alibi given by the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the ousting of the gray wolf from protection status is not so scientific.
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One of the biggest reasons behind the endangered species status of the gray wolf was that its territory included the Great Lakes as well as over 29 Eastern states.
Large areas of North America were inhabited by gray wolves once upon a time. The conservation authorities issued a statement two years ago. It stated that the eastern wolf and not the gray wolf occupied much of the Great Lakes region and the Eastern states.
This automatically made the original clause invalid. Therefore it was thought that the endangered species act did not apply to the gray wolf. By the time the fall season arrives this year, the decision to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list may be an accomplished fact.
In a novel study, published in the journal Science Advances, researchers analyzed the genome of North American wolves. These included within their ranks: the gray wolf, the eastern wolf and the red wolf. Also coyotes were included in the list after some deliberation.
The researchers found to their surprise that the red wolf and eastern wolf are not different at all. They are in fact an admixture of gray wolves and coyotes.
Therefore, the eastern wolf is just a hybrid of the gray wolf and the coyote. At least 75% of its genome belongs to the family of gray wolves in North America.
There was nothing left to say. Eastern wolves therefore have no separate status. The gray wolf ought to retain its endangered species status. It is as simple as that.
The rationale behind removing the gray wolf from its former protected status is therefore rendered null and void. Although the gray wolf was once a common beast in the entire region, today it is virtually extinct in the US, Mexico and Western Europe.
It only thrives in wilderness and areas that are outside the beaten track. The researchers analyzed the genomic sequences of gray wolves, coyotes, eastern wolves and red wolves.
Although some of the matters are still in a state of suspension due to controversy, much of the mystery surrounding the gray wolf’s origins have been dispelled.
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This situation looks similar to the fact that somewhere in our prehistory too humans mated with Neanderthals. Our genomic record still carries that anomaly within it.