Feds: Hybrid Wolf-dog Spotted In Southwestern NM

Mar 27, 2013

Federal wildlife managers have been working to return the endangered Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest for the past 15 years. Every now and then, there's a genetic hiccup.

It happens when a wolf breeds with a domestic dog, producing a litter of hybridized pups.

Just last month, an animal that looked like a wolf was spotted in the mountain community of Reserve near the Arizona-New Mexico border. Experts with the wolf management team say the uncollared animal was most likely a wolf-dog hybrid.

While it doesn't happen often, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says hybridization is a concern. Having a genetically diverse — yet pure — population has been identified by biologists as one of the keys to successfully reintroducing Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.