Are Wolves Making a Comeback in New York State?
According to a report in the Associated Press, experts are debating whether a large canid shot last winter in the Albany, New York area was actually a wolf.
A coyote hunter shot the beast and its size sparked conversation about the species of the animal.
Coyotes typically weigh about 40 pounds and the specimen shot in the Capital District was larger.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has said DNA samples on the animal have concluded the canine is most likely an Eastern Coyote but other experts question how much coyote DNA and how much wolf DNA constitutes one species over the other since the animals can interbreed.
The AP report quotes the president of the Maine Wolf Coalition as saying there is no doubt eastern wolves are crossing the St. Lawrence and being killed with hunters claiming they are coyotes. John Glowa told the AP: "There has to be other wolves here."
If wolves are identified as being present in New York, officials would have to make provisions for a federal protected species.
In the start of the 20th Century, trapping, shooting and poisoning effectively eliminated the mysterious and sometimes revered animals from the Northeast. while their smaller cousins, the Eastern Coyote, pawed its way in to fill the gap and are a fairly common sight darting in between corn stalks in fields in the Southern Tier of New York and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.
New York State wildlife experts have maintained there is no evidence of wild wolf packs establishing in the region, but some concede there is a possibility of a lone wolf here or there taking up residence in the Northeastern United States.
As for the animal shot west of Albany, Daniel Rosenblatt, a New York Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologist told Associated Press the state is not only retesting the animal but is also trying to collect more genetic data on coyotes to compare the DNA makeup of canines living at large in New York's woods and forests.