Researchers say a pack of wild canines found frolicking near the beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast carry a substantial amount of red wolf genes.

The finding has led to a new understanding that the red wolf DNA is remarkably resilient after decades of human hunting, loss of habitat and other factors had led the animal to near decimation.

The red wolf was declared extinct in the wild in 1980, but some were captured for a successful captive breeding program. Those canines became part of an experimental wild population in North Carolina.

The genetic analysis found that the canines from Galveston Island in Texas appear to be a hybrid of red wolf and coyote A scientist involved in the research says additional testing is needed to label the animal.

FILE - In this June 13, 2017 file photo, a red wolf female peers back at her 7-week old pup in their habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
FILE – In this June 13, 2017 file photo, a red wolf female peers back at her 7-week old pup in their habitat at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

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