Genetic Testing of Gray Wolves

Gray Wolf in Yellowstone National Park
Gray Wolf in Yellowstone National Park

WYOMING NEWS SERVICE: Casper, WY - Much of the debate about wolf recovery has focused on the number of wolves in each state. But another indicator of recovery success considered under the endangered species law is whether or not packs are interbreeding to ensure genetic diversity.

A new round of D-N-A testing shows there is some success to report, but there's a glaring lack of genetic exchange with packs in Yellowstone National Park. Study author and carnivore biologist Bob Wayne says it may just be a matter of time, though.

Wayne predicts that more wolf pack mingling will happen over time, and even in Yellowstone…but more time is needed, along with scientific proof.

Wayne takes issue with those claiming 100 animals per state means “full recovery,” since that doesn’t take into account the genetic diversity needed to keep the species healthy.

And he claims his study has been misinterpreted by those saying the research proved the gene pool to be strong, when in fact, it doesn't make that statement. The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service helped pay for the D-N-A research.

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