Searching for Red Wolf Ghosts – A Webinar with the Gulf Coast Canine Project


Only eight wild red wolves are known to exist today in January 2022, but the Gulf Coast Canine Project brings new hope for the species with their discovery of canids along the gulf coast that carry red wolf genetics, including a unique alleles left from a ghost population of red wolves that are not found today’s red wolves.
If these canid populations are reservoirs of lost red wolf genetic ancestry, can they be used to bolster today’s small and vulnerable red wolf population?

On January 27, 2022, Wolf Conservation Center hosted Drs. Kristin E. Brzeski, Bridgett M. vonHoldt, and Joseph W. Hinton for a webinar about the Gulf Coast Canine Project, including a summary of their current research activities, some preliminary findings to illustrate how canid populations along the Gulf Coast harbor lost red wolf genetic ancestry, and how that ancestry may influence their unique morphology and behaviors.

Dr. Kristin E. Brzeski
Kristin is an Assistant Professor in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University, where her lab’s research focuses on wildlife genetics, conservation, and management. Dr. Brzeski has been conducting red wolf conservation science since her PhD and is leading the initiative to understand the genetic ancestry and ecology of the unique Gulf Coast canid population. In addition to her canid research, Dr. Brzeski is a co-founder of Biodiversity Initiative, an NGO that works to conserve biodiversity. Currently, her team is working with local conservation practitioners to monitor and protect endemic Central Africa wildlife.

Dr. Bridgett M. von Holdt
Bridgett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Her research program investigates genomic signatures of demographic events, namely admixture and selection with a focus on wild and domestic species. Her program integrates computational and molecular approaches to connect evolutionary history with applications in fields of wildlife management, companion animal health, and endangered species policy. Her research has shaped species protections with updated genomic perspectives and contributed significant insights regarding behavioral evolution of the domestic dog.

Dr. Joey W. Hinton
Joey is a wildlife ecologist with the Wolf Conservation Center where he serves as the Senior Research Scientist. His research background focuses on the conservation and management of canids, specifically red wolves and coyotes, but also includes dabbling in some ungulate research. Joey’s ongoing projects include the ecology and conservation of the reintroduced red wolf population in northeastern North Carolina, the ecology and management of coyotes in the southeastern United States, and the ecology and management of moose in the Adirondack Park of northern New York.

The Wolf Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental education organization committed to conserving wolf populations in North America through science-based education programming and participation in the federal Species Survival Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. Through wolves, the WCC teaches the broader message of conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our World.

For more information about wolves and the WCC’s participation in wolf recovery, please visit

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