Oops, Those Rare Wolves Spotted in Nevada Aren’t Wolves After All

In mid-March, a helicopter crew heading up a moose-collaring project spotted what appeared to be three wolves near Merritt Mountain, north of Elko in Nevada. If those animals had been wolves, it would have been very significant. It would have been the first wolf pack in the state for over a century. Too bad they weren’t wolves.

The latest news from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) is that DNA analysis of the animals’ hair, fecal, and urine samples are 99.9% certainly from—drumroll please—coyotes. NDOW says after the reported sighting, biologists did their own helicopter search, plus ground surveys on snowmobiles.

“In following the tracks through the snow, biologists collected hair, fecal, and urine samples for DNA analysis,” NDOW said in a press release. Once it had samples in hand, NDOW sent the samples to two independent labs for analysis. The results were conclusive.

“Both labs conclusively show no genetic connection to wolf species and reveal genetic markers consistent with coyotes,” NDOW said.

Do Wolves Roam in Nevada?

NDOW says wolves occasionally cross state lines into Nevada, but it’s rare.

“Nevada is not a historic habitat for wolves, and we’ve had very few confirmed sightings in the state,” NDOW director Alan Jenne told the Nevada Current in March. “Wolves are not known to reside in the state of Nevada, but we know that they may occasionally cross state lines for brief periods.” 

Source: https://outdoors.com/oops-those-rare-wolves-spotted-in-nevada-arent-wolves-after-all/