DNA test confirms canine killed in upstate New York was a wolf

A DNA analysis of an 85-pound canine killed during a coyote hunt in Cherry Valley, New York in 2021 confirmed that the animal was in fact a wolf. First DNA tests led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concluded that the animal was a coyote, but other tests performed at Princeton University contradicts these results.

“After initial DNA analysis conducted this summer determined that the wild canid was most closely identified as an eastern coyote, DNA voluntarily submitted by the hunter was sent for further analysis to Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt , associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University as part of a joint multi-party research effort. DEC experts reviewed vonHoldt’s DNA test results on September 21 and determined the species was likely a male wolf. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

According ABC News 10, wolves are believed to have been completely wiped out from the northeast since the 20th century. However, according to the DECthree sightings of wolves have been confirmed in New York in the past 25 years and, according to The Maine Wolf Coalitionthere have been 7 wolf sightings in the northeastern United States since 1993.

Wolves are currently protected in New York as an endangered species. According to Maine Wolf Coalitionhowever, DEC officers told the hunter that he would not be prosecuted for killing the animal because “There are no wolves in New York.”

“DEC will continue to work with federal, state, and local partners to advance additional conservation actions to continue building a network of protected landscapes that provide habitat for threatened and endangered species in the state.” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

It seems pretty hard to fathom how someone could see a wolf and think it’s a coyote. They certainly don’t look the same. However, if it’s dark, the adrenaline is pumping, and you firmly believe there are no wolves in your area, the confusion might make a little more sense. That being said, as The Maine Wolf Coalition points out, coyotes don’t grow to 85 pounds.

“Of course, NYSDEC has failed to acknowledge the fact that there is no such thing as an 85-pound coyote.” The Maine Wolf Coalition

Image Credit: Nat Geo WILD via YouTube


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