This is classic isn’t it? Researchers, including the famous Dr. David Mech, modeler of the mythical “balance of nature,” say they have successfully crossed a wolf with a coyote – in captivity of course. Profound? Not really in that researchers announce a few years ago that wolves and coyotes and coy-dogs and domestic dogs and feral dogs were all interbreeding and blanketing much of the Eastern U.S.
According to the Field and Stream article, Mech says:
Our findings leave the eastern wolf debate open by adding further merit to the hybrid theory rather than disproving it.
There was some debate recently on this website with readers about Dr. Mech and his seemingly impeccable timing when it came to certain milestones in wolf research and major events affecting the animal. As an example was his “balance of nature” theory just about the time discussions were ongoing about whether wolves should be (re)introduced into Yellowstone and Central Idaho. Once wolves were dumped there, the balance of nature theory was found, by Mech, to be invalid. Convenient?
And now, he is announcing that the “theory” of hybridization of wild canines has been bolstered because a lab wolf and a lab coyote have been artificially bred to produce a hybrid. And all this happening at a time when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wants to delist the gray wolf in all of the Lower 48 but are considering creating a new subspecies of wolf they can list to protect under the ESA.
So the question for all of us should be, “What is Mech up to, why and for whom?”
Please see my Featured Article of yesterday about the topic of hybridization of wolves and other species and how this plays into the administration of the Endangered Species Act.