Wolf or Coyote? Wisconsin DNR Issues Statement On Controversial Sightings

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images)

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is speaking out on recent reports of wolf sightings in one of the state’s counties. The called sightings are reported to be just south of the Eau Claire city limits, officials note. The reports, members of the Wisconsin DNR say, are credible. Making us wonder, what is bringing these wild animals into an area that rarely sees this type of wildlife?

Rumors of the Wolf Sightings Began Circulating on Social Media

Tales of the wolf sighing began circulating recently on Facebook with Wisconsin residents claiming to have spotted the animal in the Eau Clarie area. Now, the DNR is noting that these reports are likely very credible. And the animal is believed to be a large black wolf.

Randy Johnson, a specialist in large carnivores says he wasn’t surprised by these sightings. Noting that this type of thing peaks during this time of year.

“It’s entirely possible,” Johnson says of the wolf sighting reports.

“We know that there are resident wolf packs to the east,” the expert continues.

“Even within Eau Claire County in the eastern part of the county,” he adds. “Especially this time of year, end of the fall, there’s younger wolves dispersing out from those packs.” Johnson goes on to note that these dispersing animals can then show up “literally anywhere in the state.”

This Unusual Sighting Is Likely A Young Animal Who Is Exploring This New Independence

The experts note that the wolf breeding season is usually in the late winter. So, the young wolves tend to venture out beyond their packs in the spring or fall. And, that is likely exactly what this black wolf is doing.

Johnson adds that Wisconsin is home to grey wolves. However, these wild animals can really come in many colors including black or dark grey. A wolf in an area such as Eau Claire is likely to move on after sticking around for a few days, Johnson notes.

Furthermore, the DNR experts are telling residents that there is no reason to be afraid regarding these sightings and reports. However, it is recommended that pet owners stay a little extra vigilant while the animal roams the area. Most wolves are active at dawn and dusk, the experts note. So it is recommended that pet owners keep their animals close to them, ideally leashed … and always supervised. It is also recommended that the pet food remain inside so it doesn’t attract any wayward wildlife into neighborhood yards.