Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

19 Juin, 2018, 17:08 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Courtesy Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

A rancher legally shot the animal near Denton, Montana, back on May 16 and wildlife officials in the state got to investigating what the thing might be. Was it a wolf?

That fueled online speculation with some arguing the animal was a starving grizzly cub, a dire wolf or even a Dogman.

The department published the DNA results of the animal's tissues.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) said this week that a mysterious animal that was shot in The Treasure State was a gray wolf.

Researchers chock up the confusion surrounding the animal to its condition and the publicized photos - which, due to whatever odd perspective, showed short legs and long ears.

Still, the young female had social media going wild before the DNA results were in.

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Le quotidien local L'Union précisait dans la foulée que " d'après les constatations, il s'agi [ssai] t manifestement d'un suicide ".

"DNA from the animal ... was tested at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensic laboratory in Ashland, Oregon".

"The lab compared the animal's DNA with thousands of other DNA samples from wolves, coyotes and dogs. The conclusion was clear - this animal is a gray wolf from the northern Rocky Mountains", according to the news release.

Montana FWP says confusion over the animal's identity may have been caused by its appearance in the photos. However, its "teeth were too short, the front paws too small and the claws on the front paw were too long" to be a wolf. The wolf measured 45 inches from the tip of the nose to the rump and weighed 84.5 pounds.

Officials say the wolf was a 2- or 3-year-old female with unique physical features.

Physical variations aren't unusual for animals, said Mary Curtis, a geneticist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: "Within species there can be variability that's not surprising at all".

FWP chose to have the wolf tested to make sure it was an actual wolf because hybrid wolf-dogs have been documented in central and eastern Montana in the past, Smucker said.

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