DNA Test Confirms Wolf Killed in Upstate New York

by Joe Rutland
(Photo Courtesy Getty Images)

A DNA test confirms that an 85-pound canid killed in upstate New York is actually a wolf. The canid was killed during a coyote hunt in 2021 in Cherry Valley, New York. Unofficial Networks reports that those initial DNA tests were conducted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). They concluded that the animal was a coyote. Further testing takes place at Princeton University. Those results would contradict the other ones.

“After initial DNA analysis completed this summer determined the wild canid to be most closely identified as an Eastern coyote, DNA submitted voluntarily 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 research effort by multiple parties,” the DEC reported. “DEC experts reviewed the vonHoldt DNA test results on Sept. 21 and determined the species is likely a male wolf.”

Wolf Sightings Sparse In New York State

ABC News 10 is reporting that wolves are thought to have been completely wiped out from the Northeast since the 20th century. Yet there is more insight into this issue from the DEC. It says that three confirmed wolf sightings take place in New York state within the past 25 years. Now, according to a report from The Maine Wolf Coalition, there have been a total of seven wolf sightings in the Northeast United States since 1993.

It should be noted that wolves are currently protected in New York as an endangered species. But The Maine Wolf Coalition indicates that the DEC officers told the hunter that he will not be prosecuted for killing the animal. It said that “there are no wolves in New York.” According to the DEC, it stated, “DEC will continue to work with federal, state and local partners to advance additional conservation actions to continue to build a network of protected landscapes that provide habitat for threatened and endangered species in the state.” 

Now, this also is worth something to note. It might seem difficult to understand how someone could see a wolf, then think it is a coyote. The animals do not look the same. Yet let’s take a look at the situation. Maybe there’s a reason for the confusion to make more sense. A hunter is wandering around in the dark. He’s got his adrenaline rushing through his veins. Also, you really believe that no wolves exist in your area. Still, coyotes, according to The Maine Wolf Coalition, do not get so big to become 85 pounds. A statement from the Coalition said, “Of course, NYSDEC made no acknowledgment of the fact that there is no such animal as an 85-pound coyote.