Tag Archives: red wolf

Red Wolf Shot-Or Not? A Look Into The Archives

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.

You can read it here.

I found this photo searching for some other images and thought you might enjoy seeing this rare image from the past.

Chester Moore

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Texas’ Red Wolves

Canis rufus, the red wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in the world.

Declared extinct in the wild in 1980, they faced hybridization with more adaptable coyotes. Now a number of scientists believe the species is actually a fertile hybrid of gray wolf and coyote to begin with but the red wolf at this point is still declared a unique species.

The Texas Zoo is one of the first in the nation to take part in the captive breeding program that has produced offspring that have been stocked at several locations in the Southeast including North Carolina’s Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

A red wolf I photographed recently at The Texas Zoo in Victoria.
A red wolf I photographed recently at The Texas Zoo in Victoria.

The wolves there are kept in a spacious, naturalistic enclosure where with a good camera with a solid telephoto lens and fast shutter speed you have a good shot at capturing images like the one above.
The first photo I ever had published was a pair of red wolves dating back to 1992 in a now defunct newspaper called The Opportunity Valley News. I actually took the photo the year before while I was a junior in high school.

The first photo I had published back in 1992 when I had just begun my freshman year in college.
The first photo I had published back in 1992 when I had just begun my freshman year in college.

One of the best parts of the wolf exhibit is that it is located close to a coyote exhibit. Coyotes are often mistaken to be wolves and here you can see a clear contrast and also note the similarities.

The vast majority of the animals at the Texas Zoo are Texas natives but there are also tigers and other exotics now included to give some variety for visitors.

If you are ever near Victoria, TX which is situated off of I-59 between Houston and Corpus Christi, stop by and see the red wolves and the other wild creatures that call it home.

It’s got a nice collection of animals and charm the size of the Lone Star State.

For more information to go Texaszoo.org.
Chester Moore