Confirmed Wolf Spotted In New York State For Just 3rd Time In 25 Years
New York State officials were shocked to discover a wolf roaming the Empire State. Officials now want the public to report sightings of any unusually large animals.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recently confirmed an animal taken by a New York hunter was a wolf.
Wolf Confirmed in Cherry Valley, Otsego County, New York
The animal was taken during the 2021 coyote hunting season in Cherry Valley, Otsego County. The hunter thought the animal was a coyote but following what the DEC says was a “methodical, scientific assessment to ensure the accuracy of the species,” DNA results returned this week confirmed the animal was a wolf.
“After initial DNA analysis completed this summer determined the wild canid to be most closely identified as an Eastern coyote, DNA submitted voluntarily by the hunter was sent for further analysis,” the DEC stated. “DEC experts reviewed the DNA test results and determined the species is likely a male wolf.”
Wolves are protected in New York State as an endangered species. The DEC is now evaluating more steps to determine whether further research is needed.
Wolf Confirmed In New York State For 3rd Time in 25 Years
This is just the third confirmed wolf identified in the wild in New York in the past 25 years, according to the DEC.
“DNA tests indicate the animal is most likely from the Great Lakes population of wolves, which currently have no established populations in any adjacent state and no known wolves closer than Michigan,” the DEC said.
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Unclear How Wolf Ended Up In Otsego County
How the wolf ended up in Otsego County remains unclear. It's also not known if the wolf was a wild animal that moved into New York or if was a captive-bred animal that was released or escaped.
“At present, the natural recolonization of wolves in New York is unlikely. For a pack of wolves to be established in the state, breeding populations of female wolves would need to return to the state and breed with male wolves which typically roam farther from their packs,” the DEC adds.
Eastern Coyotes Thriving In New York, Much Smaller Than Wolves
Eastern coyotes are found throughout the Empire State. Its population is well-established and stable across the state, officials say. Wolves are much larger than Eastern coyotes, according to the DEC.
“The siting of this wolf is a testament to New York State's record of protecting habitat which has greatly benefited wildlife populations, as noted with the return of moose and the Great Lakes piping plover to suitable habitat within the state,” the DEC said
The DEC is going to continue to monitor for additional signs of wolves in the state and encourage New Yorkers to report sightings of any unusually large animals.