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Stray Dog and Wolf Mystery Uncovered!



We all know that dogs and wolves are related. In fact, it is shown that around 15,000 years back, humans started domesticating wolves and out of them slowly evolved our dogs.


But do you know that dogs and wolves are very deeply connected, even today?


One fine day, somewhere around Pune, nature enthusiasts and members of an organisation, The Grasslands Trust saw a pack of wolves hanging around. They were indeed very happy seeing the wolves but in the pack, they noticed 2 different-looking individuals. The colour of one was distinctly different from the others and the other had very different facial features. The curious group contacted scientists at ATREE and NCBS in Bangalore, and sent them photos. Researchers confirmed that something was definitely amiss. Following instructions of the scientists, the Grasslands Trust team found the wolf pack again and started following them. 


When these animals rest, some strands of their hair get stuck to the ground beneath. After taking permission from the forest department, they collected such strands of fallen hair, and sent them off to Bangalore!


At their labs in Bangalore, the scientists extracted DNA out of these hair samples and confirmed that the two different-looking individuals were actually hybrids of dogs and wolves!

 

But what is the big deal in this?! We regularly find hybrids of a donkey and a horse, don't we? 

Well, interestingly, hybrids of a dog and a wolf can make babies! 

In fact, one of the two odd-looking individuals was a second generation hybrid. Which means that at least one of its parents was the pup of a dog and a wolf!


This can really be very concerning. Free ranging dogs are known to spread diseases in wolves. Stray dogs are causing a menace. With the increasing number of feral dogs, hybrids can even completely replace and drive the wild wolf population to extinction! Stray dog and wolf


Increasing number of free ranging dogs is affecting nature and wildlife more severely than we can imagine.


Have you ever come across different-looking wolves, dogs, jackals or foxes? Let us know – send us photos!


The Grasslands Trust team proved that we do not need to be scientists to understand, study and help protect the natural world around us. All we need is interest, enthusiasm and curiosity.


If you learnt something new today, do like and share the above video with others. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram so that we can meet very soon, with another piece of ecology, explained.



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