Is a Red Wolf Just a Coywolf?

Many people have pushed to eliminate protections for red wolves— our native wolf, here in Tennessee— by positing that they are not actually an endangered species. These anti-wolf activists claim that there is no such animal as a red wolf, and that “red wolves” are simply a hybrid between coyotes and grey wolves.

This, simply put, isn’t accurate. DNA studies and fossil records prove that the red wolf was once a distinct species from the grey wolf or coyote, and it is recognized by legal and scientific organizations as a distinct species. There are very few full-blooded red wolves surviving today, and breeding with coyotes remains a major threat to the species. But our beautiful native red wolf is much more than just a coyote cross. It is a critically endangered species in desperate need of protection.

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