Red wolves once roamed a broad stretch of the southeastern United States, settling in several states including Texas, Florida and West Virginia. But by 1980, the canines were virtually extinct in the wild, their population largely limited to wolves born through captive breeding programs.Today, just 40 or so of these elusive red wolves—stemming from a group reintroduced to North Carolina in the late ‘80s—remain living in the wild. Luckily, Ed Cara writes for Gizmodo, a team of Princeton University researchers recently chanced upon a surprising discovery that could very well secure the threatened species’ future: As the scientists report in the journal Genes, a pack of canines native to Texas’ Galveston Island carry elements of the red wolf’s DNA, including so-called “ghost alleles” once thought to have vanished from the genetic record.

Source: Pack of Wild Dogs in Texas Carry DNA of Nearly Extinct Red Wolf | Smart News | Smithsonian