Are There Wolves In New York?

Are there wolves in New York? According to the DNA analysis, the animal killed in December was a wolf. Yet, with the mounting evidence, the NYDEC still does not accept that there are wolves in upper New York.

Last December, a hunter shot a wolf near Albany, New York. He posted a picture of the animal on social media, which started the debate. Are there wolves in New York? A Northeast Ecological Recovery Society member, Joseph Butera, contacted the hunter. He received a tissue sample from the hunter, which he sent to Ohio’s Trent University for DNA testing. The test concluded that the dead wolf carried 99 percent wolf DNA—a mixture of Great Lakes, Northwest Territories, and eastern gray wolf strains.

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation does not believe the mounting evidence. They believe that the dead wolf and other recently killed wolves are coywolves. They also think that the St. Lawrence River and other barriers put in place prevent wolves from coming further down to New York. Yet, since 1993 at least 11 wolves have been killed south of the river.

Wolf or Coywolf?

It is estimated that there are around 7,000 wolves in Quebec and over 9,000 in Ontario. Do we not expect these wolves to venture out looking for food and mates?

Some difference between coyotes and wolves is their size. Wolves range from 60-145 pounds, while coyotes grow to be around 50 pounds. The dead wolf the hunter killed was 85 pounds. Another thing to note is that there are eastern and western coyotes. Easter coyotes are referred to as coywolves since they are typically bigger and more aggressive.

So are there wolves in New York? Those living in Adirondacks claim they have seen wolves, including large tracks that can’t possibly belong to coyotes. Since we can’t track every wolf and coyote among us, we can’t entirely deny the evidence and say there are no wolves in New York.

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