Federal wildlife managers working to rehabilitate the Mexican gray wolf population in the American Southwest for the past 15 years stumbled upon what they believe to be a wolf-dog hybrid near Reserve, New Mexico.
However, hybridized pups arising from the breeding of wolves with domestic dogs undermines these efforts and are of great concern to these managers. The Albuquerque Journal refers to this as a “genetic hiccup”.
Having a genetically diverse – yet pure – population has been identified as one of the keys to making the effort a success, and biologists have gone to great lengths over the years to pair genetically valuable wolves and to collect semen and eggs from some of the predators for captive breeding and research.
When hybrid wolves are found in the wild, they are removed to protect the genetic pool. For example, wildlife managers in 2011 had to euthanize four wolf-dog pups that belonged to a female wolf that had initially been released into the Gila National Forest with hopes of being a mate for another lone wolf.
It has been a tough year for wolf-dogs/wolf hybrids. Farmers Insurance recently announced that they would no longer cover bites by pit bulls, Rottweilers and wolf-hybrids in the State of California:
“We reviewed our liability claim history and we determined that three breeds accounted for more than 25% of dog bite claims,” said spokeswoman Erin Freeman. “In addition, these three breeds caused more harm when they attacked than any other breed.”
The move by Farmers, which will go into effect for California homeowners as their policies come up for renewal, is one of several efforts nationwide by insurance companies to limit an ever-increasing level of liability for dog bites.