Retrospective investigation of captive red wolf reproductive success in relation to age and inbreeding.

Research paper by K M KM Lockyear, W T WT Waddell, K L KL Goodrowe, S E SE MacDonald

Indexed on: 09 Jun '09Published on: 09 Jun '09Published in: Zoo Biology


The critically endangered red wolf (Canis rufus) has been subject to a strictly managed captive breeding program for three decades. A retrospective demographic analysis of the captive population was performed based on data from the red wolf studbook. Data analyses revealed a decrease in the effective population size relative to the total population size, and changes in age structure and inbreeding coefficients over time. To varying degrees, the probability of successful breeding and litter sizes declined in association with increasing dam age and sire inbreeding coefficients. Neonate survival also declined with increasing dam age. Recent changes in strategies regarding breed-pair recommendations have resulted in moderate increases in reproductive success.