DNA Test Confirms Rare Wolf Killed In Upstate New York
There are a lot of different animals in New York. I use the term "animal" literally and figuratively. However, one species has been missing from the vast terrain of the upper regions since the early 1900's, the wolf. The DEC notes that there are wolves in Wisconsin and Michigan but not in New York. Populations of the species do exist north of the empire state border in Canada.
Back in December, a hunter shot and killed the canine. The hunter reported the kill to the DEC and the testing began to determine if a wolf had indeed returned to New York. According to Mike Lynch of timesunion.com and the Adirondack Explorer, researchers at Princeton University determined, through DNA testing that the animal was "96.2 percent Great Lakes gray wolf, 1.6 percent gray wolf, and 1.4 percent eastern wolf, according to data released from the advocates. Dog and coyote DNA made up less than 1 percent each."
Was it a lone wolf looking for new hunting territory? Most likely. According to timesunion.com, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation does not feel that people should now be on the lookout for wolves. “Natural recolonization of the state by wolves is currently unlikely,” the NYDEC told the Adirondack Explorer.
This DNA analysis was important. Originally the species was thought to be mostly coyote and was a mix of other canines. Confirmation of the species truly is a positive. Though wolves can be dangerous, especially to livestock populations, it is always a good sign when a species returns to an area where it previously thrived. Gray wolves are big powerful canines and can grow to 180 pounds. If you think you see one, do not approach it and report it to the DEC.