Some wildlife watchers in parts of New York state are claimed as they are No a case of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf!” Really I was a wolf.
The Associated Press reports that after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials maintained a large canine killed by a hunter in Otsego County last winter was likely a coyote or coyote mix, new information confirms that the animal was, in fact, a wolf.
The DEC is confirming that a review this week of DNA evidence contradicts initial analysis that had concluded the large dog-like animal was an eastern coyote.
The AP report quotes environmental officials as saying this is only the third wolf identified in the wild in New York state in 25 years.
The wolf was killed in Cherry Valley, about 40 miles west of Albany last winter.
While the species issue appears to be resolved, it remains a mystery where the animal came from. Environmental experts speculate that the wolf likely traveled from the Great Lakes area. However, there is no known gray wolf population beyond Michigan.
There’s also the possibility that someone kept it as an illegal pet and it ran away or got loose when, like most wild animals people try to keep as pets, it became too difficult to handle.
Earlier this year, experts who reviewed the DNA of the hunter’s prize was that of a coyote, but samples were sent to Princeton University, which concluded the beast was likely a male wolf.
Like the continuing reports of cougar sightings in New York that come under wildlife experts’ insistence that the big cats left the Empire State long ago, residents continue to report seeing and hearing the eerie howl of what they think are wolves in upstate New York.
Wolves are believed to have been eradicated from the Northeast in the early 20th century as a result of shooting, trapping, poisoning and habitat loss, with smaller coyotes pushing their way in to fill the space and are a fairly common sight among corn stalks in fields in the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.
Advocates say the wolves are in New York and New England and could be crossing the frozen St. Lawrence River as they head south from Canada.
If wolves are identified in New York, officials would have to make provisions for a federally protected species.
LOOK: These are the pets prohibited in each state
Because regulation of exotic animals is left up to the states, some organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, advocate for standardized federal legislation banning the keeping of large cats, bears, primates, and large venomous snakes as pets.
Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the country.