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Nevada ‘wolf’ sighting in March determined to be coyotes

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ELKO – The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) on Monday announced that a possible sighting of three wolves in Nevada – the first since 2017 – were actually coyotes. 

“DNA analysis of the hair, fecal and urine samples collected along the suspected tracks in the snow has revealed with 99.9% certainty that samples are from coyotes,” NDOW officials said. 

On March 17, a helicopter crew contracted by NDOW for a moose collaring project observed three animals that resembled wolves. NDOW biologists followed up with a helicopter search and ground surveys. In following the tracks through the snow, biologists collected hair, fecal and urine samples for DNA analysis. 

Two labs determined there was no genetic connection to wolf species.

“While initial observations indicated the possibility of wolves in the area, the DNA results of the samples collected indicated that these animals were, in fact, coyotes,” NDOW Director Alan Jenne said. “We appreciate the diligence of our biologists, assisting laboratory personnel and the public’s cooperation throughout this process and we will continue to monitor the area for any indication of wolf presence.” 

Nevada, not historically known as wolf habitat, occasionally has wolves crossing state lines. 

“We understand the significance of such sightings and the importance of accurate identification,” Jenne added. “NDOW will continue to work closely with state and federal agencies to uphold our mission of protecting Nevada’s ecosystems and wildlife while also maintaining transparency as a top priority in all our communications with the public.” 

Source: NDOW

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