The first article I ever had published as a wildlife journalist was about red wolves and their hybridization with coyotes.
I was 19.
In high school I did a lot of research on red wolves because some of the last ones to live naturally in the wild were just a few miles from my home.
During my early research into the species, my aunt Brenda gave me this clipping from the Orange Leader newspaper dating back to 1986.
It shows a man with what looks very much like a red wolf he shot in Orange County that year. The article says the man “shot an 80-pound timber wolf”.
It’s obviously not a timber (gray) wolf but it has a lot of red wolf characteristics.
The official word was that all of the animals left were “coyotes” or at best wolf/coyote hybrids.
But at the very least this photo shows the red wolf genetic was strong in the area after the extinction declaration.
We now know this to be true as I broke the story on red wolf DNA found in a road-killed canid on Galveston Island, TX in 2018.
I was honored to win a Texas Outdoor Writer’s Association “Excellence In Craft” award for that piece.
I found this photo searching for some other images and thought you might enjoy seeing this rare image from the past.
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