The Red Wolves are now almost driven into extinction because of:
- aggressive predator management efforts for many decades since the early 20th century
- degradation or alteration of its natural habitat
- hybridization with coyotes which has diluted its gene pool
The Red Wolf, a native North American canid, used to roam freely in great numbers across open plains and arid areas in the southeastern part of North America.
But decades of persecution and political interference since the mid-1900s resulted to high gunshot mortality. Increasing development and human activities in its natural habitat has also made it difficult for these canids to thrive.
Because they bear a close resemblance to coyotes, Red Wolves would be hunted down without hesitation by local hunters and landowners to prevent them from being in close proximity to their properties or livestock animals.
All of these factors led to high cases of inbreeding within its already shrinking population as well as inter-breeding with coyotes which weakened its genetic health and watered down its genetic make-up, respectively.
By 1980, this unique All-American wolf species has been declared as biologically extinct. Today, its pure-bred population is down to less than 20 individuals.
Though a subspecies hybrid from its wolf and coyote ancestors, Red Wolves are considered a uniquely genetic mammal.