Inbreeding depression is expected to affect populations of outbreeding mammals in inverse proportion to their population size and can affect whether small populations persist or go extinct. We use studbook records to examine the effect of inbreeding upon juvenile viability and litter size in two endangered species that have recently been reintroduced to the wild: the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the red wolf (C. rufus). We found that neither juvenile viability nor litter size was lowered by inbreeding in either taxon. In fact, both captive breeding programs appear to have less lethal equivalents than the median estimate for mammals. We did find that year of birth was correlated with increasing viability in both taxa. We conclude that there is no evidence that inbreeding depression will prove a major obstacle to the success of either recovery effort.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation