Project Director

O'dea, Gregory

Department Examiner

Van Horn, Gene; Schorr, Mark; Keller, Robert


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The red wolf, Canis rufus, is a highly endangered predator native to the eastern United States. Their original range is thought to have extended from as far west as Texas all the way to the east coast, and as far south as Florida and north to at least the Ohio River valley. Their decline is attributed to human encroachment causing loss of habitat, persecution of the species, and extensive hybridization with coyotes, Canis latrans, once their numbers began to diminish (Riley and McBride, 1972). In addition to these problems, parasites have had a substantial effect on their already dwindling numbers (Mccarley, 1978). The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) together with the International Species Survival Program (SSP) created what is now known as the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The hybridization problem between red wolves and coyotes was extensive and a definition for red wolf morphological characteristics was created to isolate a pure population of red wolves (Riley and McBride, 1972; Jordan, 1979). By 1975, however, studies indicated that recovery efforts in the wild would not be sufficient to re-establish population numbers; hybridization with coyotes was too extensive for such a small population. In order to save the species, a captive breeding program was initiated that required that all remaining individuals be removed from the wild and placed in captivity (Mccarley, 1978).


I would like to thank the Tennessee Wildlife Center (formerly the Chattanooga Nature Center) for allowing me to research the wolves housed at their facility. I greatly appreciate the help and cooperation of the Director, Jim Petruzzi, and the help from employees and former management of the Center. Thank you David Holloway, Otis Allen, and Staley McPeak for all your help with getting started and building the blind. Thank you David Holloway, Nancy Brice, Craig Ely, Jennifer Hare, and James Thompson for helping with the logistics of setup and take down, daily notes, and helping me find those elusive beef bones again and again. Thank you to all of the other employees for your support. I would also like to thank Jeremy Bramblett for his extensive help and encouragement. I would like to thank Dr. Timothy Gaudin, my advisor and project director, for his council and patience throughout this entire project. I appreciate all of Dr. Mark Schorr's help and advice, and his help with the statistics. I am grateful for all the advice and patience from each of the committee members: Dr. Keller, Dr. Greg O'dea, Dr. Mark Schorr, and Dr. Gene VanHorn. Finally, I would like to thank family and friends for their support and encouragement throughout all of the ups and downs and for listening to more than their fair share of red wolf discussions. I would especially like to thank James Thompson, my husband, for his interest, support, encouragement, and continuation of the work with the red wolves at the Center.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Red wolf--Environmental enrichment; Captive wild animals--Behavior


Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment

Document Type



52, leaves





Call Number

LB2369.5 .T5656 1999