"A population of strange canids in Texas could hold the key to reviving the highly endangered red wolf."
"From a distance, the canids of Galveston Island, Texas, look almost like coyotes, prowling around the beach at night, eyes gleaming in the dark.
But look closer and oddities appear. The animals’ bodies seem slightly out of proportion, with overly long legs, unusually broad heads and sharply pointed snouts. And then there is their fur, distinctly reddish in hue, with white patches on their muzzles.
The Galveston Island canids are not conventional coyotes — at least, not entirely. They carry a ghostly genetic legacy: DNA from red wolves, which were declared extinct in the wild in 1980.
For years, these genes have been hiding in plain sight, tucked away in the seemingly unremarkable animals that scavenged for food behind housing developments and roamed the grounds of the local airport."
Photographs by Tristan Spinski for the New York Times, with text by Emily Anthes January 3, 2022.