The first wild wolfdog was detected in the southern Carpathians. This animal, a cross between a dog and a wolf, may pose a threat to the health of the wolf population in the future. Conducting research on the wolf population was hampered by unfavorable weather conditions.
Research by the Conservation Carpathia foundation confirms the discovery of a wolfdog – a wolf-dog hybrid – in the forests of the Southern Carpathians. According to the study, the animal accompanied one of the wolf packs. Although domesticated wolfdogs have accompanied humans for decades, the foundation said this is the first genetically documented case of this crossbreed’s wild occurrence in the Carpathians.
Crosswords and difficult tests
Scientists explained that in the case of Romania, hybridization of species is a phenomenon caused by stray dogs increasingly boldly entering wolf territories – this is evidenced by their increasingly frequent appearance at wolf population monitoring points. According to researchers, their presence may threaten the genetic health of wolves in the coming decades.
– Although hybridization seems to be a minor threat at the moment, it may continue and over time lead to genetic degradation and then to the complete extinction of this species – they explained in a press statement.
Researchers reported that animal samples were collected primarily between November and May, while in the warm season they were collected only under favorable circumstances. However, following the mammals was difficult due to the decreasing amount of snow in the Carpathians in recent years.
The aim of the research conducted by the Conservation Carpathia foundation is to obtain information on the wolf population in Romania. As noted in the announcement, genetic research is long-term and ongoing. According to official estimates, the wolf population in Romania is approximately 3,000 individuals.
PAP, Conservation Carpathia
Main photo source: Shutterstock