Given the recent re-colonization of gray wolves (Canis lupus) to the Pacific northwest, USA, and subsequent migration into northern California, understanding how well natural migration has restored historic diversity can inform management decisions. Among the nine museum specimens currently available for genetic analysis of historical genetic diversity of C. l. spp. in the U.S. Pacific states (Oregon, Nevada, and California), we found the first evidence of Mexican wolf (C. l. baileyi) ancestry in southern California while the northern Californian specimen, as well as one individual from Nevada, present a haplotype common to wolves from the historic American West and extant Canadian wolf populations. Finally, the three Oregon specimens shared a haplotype that is only observed in extant coastal rainforest wolves, which may represent the southern distribution of this ecotype.
Check out the Boom California article about our research:
Return of the wild: The wolves at our door by E. Marris