Genetic research on wolves in Yellowstone National Park links coat color with reproductive success, disease resistance, and more territorial behavior.
Yellowstone National Park helps protect wolves as a species and provides a place for research opportunities for scientists. Genetics studies have found a link between coat color and certain survival traits of Gray Wolves. Despite the name, not all Gray Wolves are gray, some are black. According to the study black-coated wolves carry a gene called K-Locus. This gene has an immunity function in addition to coat color. For example, black Gray Wolves have a higher survival rate during distemper outbreaks. On the contrary, gray-coated wolves tend to have a higher reproductive rate, and a behavior trait that makes them more aggressive than black-coated wolves during territorial conflicts with other wolf packs.
Other wolf research in Yellowstone National Park includes:
- How wolves improve an ecosystem through predation.
- Behaviors like pack cooperation and care of offspring.
- Territories and territorial defense.
- Genetic studies to evaluate health & kinship between packs.
- Genetic studies to identify connectivity between other Northern Rocky Mountain packs.
Want to see and learn more about gray wolves in their habitat in Yellowstone National Park? Join us on or Women’s Yellowstone Winter Wolves & Wildlife Safari January 25-30, 2021 as we explore the northern range of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Deposit is due November 30, 2021. Learn more about Green Edventures Women’s Yellowstone Winter Wolves & Wildlife Safari here.
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