For years the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has said wolves are not in New York State. Any animal  depicting a wolf has been called by the department a 'coyo-wolf', meaning it's a mix of a wolf and coyote, but is primarily a coyote.

However, last December a hunter shot an 85 pound animal in the woods of the Greater Capital Region (the exact location of the wolf was not disclosed). When the hunter posted a photo on Facebook, it got the attention of Joseph Butera with the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society.

Butera was able to get the hunter to send a tissue sample of the animal for a DNA test at a Canadian University lab. The results were as he suspected, the animal is indeed 99% wolf. According to Butera, he and many others have believed wolves were making their way into New York State for years. He spoke to News 10:

Many of my friends and neighbors in the Adirondacks where I live have spotted wolves there and I have seen canid tracks there much larger than that of a coyote

According to News 10, this is the eleventh wolf known to have been killed south of the St. Lawrence River in New York, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont since 1993. Scientists had believed that although wolves are prevalent in parts of Canada, the river was a barrier to them migrating into New York.

Gray wolves, which is what this particular breed was, were reinstated as protected animals under the Endangered Species Act back in February. Since this wolf was killed in December, the law does not apply.

Butera and other ecological advocates are hopeful that this is proof that wolves are makin a comeback in this part of the US.

While it’s heartbreaking this wolf was killed, we’re grateful the hunter agreed to provide a tissue sample for DNA analysis. Now it’s time for state and federal leaders to step up and help these endangered and protected wolves return to the Northeast

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