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Wolf Crossings

A Rural Viewpoint On Wolf Reintroduction And Protection

Reality Bites 

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Updated 9-06



Article Date 11/26/2004
United Press Int'l Health News

Study: Wolves have lost genetic diversity

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A study finds that reintroducing gray wolves to the western United States will not restore the genetic diversity of the population wiped out decades ago.

A team of researchers from UCLA, the National Museum of Natural History and Sweden's Uppsala University published their findings in the journal Molecular Ecology. They say that historically, the western states had about 400,000 wolves, a population that was completely wiped out by a government-sponsored program of extermination.

The researchers say that the historic population, which evolved during the last Ice Age, was far more genetically diverse than the population now living in Canada, the source for wolves transplanted to the United States.

"Our results imply that current restoration goals of a few hundred wolves in the American West are grossly inadequate and reflect political and economic concerns rather than past biological reality," said Professor Robert Wayne of UCLA.


Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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