It's been a long journey for The Grasslands Trust team, from seeing suspected hybrid individuals (in 2014) to acquiring the permission for sample collection and finally getting it tested in the laboratory at NCBS. All to prove conclusively that hybridization is a real and an eminent threat to the wolf population of the country! Download the entire published note.
Summary of the published note - Human expansion has fragmented wildlife habitats, increasing interactions between domesticated animals and wild species. Free-ranging dogs, gray wolves, and golden jackals are particularly affected. Hybridization between wolves and dogs threatens wolf populations. Detecting and distinguishing wolf-dog hybrids is challenging due to their complex history. Citizen scientists identified two individuals, and genetic analysis using shed hair samples and next-generation sequencing revealed 698 genetic markers. Results indicate one F2 hybrid and a complex hybrid between dogs and wolves. This study highlights the power of non-invasive genetic analysis and the need for robust monitoring and collaborative conservation efforts.