ALBANY, N.Y. — In 2021, a hunter shot what was thought to be a coyote 40 miles west of Albany, but DNA testing has revealed that it was an endangered wolf.
Experts from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation revealed Thursday the DNA of the shot animal was that of a male wolf.
The discovery makes it the third confirmed wolf identified in the wild in New York in the past 25 years, according to state officials. It’s unclear where the wolf came from, but it is most likely from a Great Lakes population of wolves.
Wolves are protected in New York state as an endangered species.
According to the DEC, the natural return 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,” according to the DEC press release.
While captive wolves have been released into the wild in the state, some advocates suggest that wolves could be crossing over the St. Lawrence River from Canada when it’s frozen into New York and New England, according to The Associated Press.
Wolves are believed to have been eradicated from the Northeast by the start of the 20th century. Still, many residents have reported seeing animals that they believe closely resemble wolves.
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