, 2022-07-26 17:28:33,
A DNA test has confirmed that an animal shot around 100 miles from the Vermont border last December was a wolf.
While data has shown that some coyotes in the Northeast are wolf-coyote hybrids, the DNA of the 85-pound creature killed near Cooperstown, New York, was 99% wolf — a mixture of Great Lakes, Northwest Territories and eastern gray wolf, according to the results of a DNA test announced today.
Joseph Butera, a member of the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society, a not-for-profit that advocates for the restoration of native species in the Northeast, coordinated the DNA test after he saw the wolf pictured on the hunter’s social media page. The hunter agreed to supply a tissue sample, which was tested by a lab at Trent University in Ontario.
While gray wolves regained protection under the federal Endangered Species Act in February, they were not covered when the hunter shot the wolf.
Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department officials say wolves are unlikely to become established in Vermont anytime soon. While the occasional wolf may stray from its established population in Canada — less than a two days’ journey, according to the Vermont-based Center for Biological Diversity — the coyote has largely taken the wolf’s place at the top of the food chain.
If state officials identified a wolf in the state, Mark Scott, director of the Wildlife Division at Vermont Fish & Wildlife, said he doubts it would come from a wild population.
“We just don’t have any evidence that they’re here,” he said
However, members of regional environmental groups — the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society, the Maine Wolf Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity — said the deceased wolf’s presence is part of a pattern of appearances that are slowly increasing in frequency. They want to see state governments study the issue.
It’s a sign, wildlife advocates said, that wolves — who have been extinct in Vermont since the late 1800s, according to the Fish & Wildlife Department — could become reestablished in the area with some policy tweaks in New England and Canada.
John Glowa, with the Maine Wolf Coalition, a volunteer group that has been collecting samples of feces and animal tissue from across the Northeast to identify the presence of wolves, said his group is not advocating for the “reintroduction” of wolves, but rather…
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