UNITED STATES NEWS

Verdict in for wildlife mystery in Nevada where DNA tests show suspected wolves were coyotes

May 14, 2024, 3:42 PM

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The verdict is in. The latest wildlife mystery in Nevada has been solved.

Scientists who set out on a trail through the snow near the Idaho line to gather evidence like detectives in search of a suspect relied on the scat and fur samples they collected to determine a trio of animals spotted during a helicopter survey in March were not wolves after all, but rather a group of wily coyotes.

DNA testing confirmed the results with 99.9% certainty, the Nevada Department of Wildlife announced this week.

The sighting in northeast Nevada near Merritt Mountain about 90 miles (144 kilometers) north of Elko initially spurred a great deal of excitement as it would have marked only the second time in a century that wolves were spotted in the state.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife went to great lengths to set the record straight with extensive DNA testing partly because the department has spent the past two years trying to figure out why a growing number of moose have been migrating in recent years from Idaho into Nevada,

Prior to 2018, only a handful of moose had been sighted in Nevada over the previous century. Experts estimate their numbers now exceed 100, and Nevada wildlife commissioners have approved the state’s first moose hunting season this fall for just two animals while scientists continue to study their population and demographic trends.

Some had speculated the wolves might be pursuing the moose. Wolves are among predators that stalk young moose in the Northern Rockies, where ranchers blame them for livestock deaths, but scientists have found no evidence of that in Nevada.

After the helicopter contractors looking for moose as part of a collaring project in Nevada spotted the three animals resembling wolves on March 17, state biologists followed up with their own helicopter search and then with ground surveys in the area via snowmobiles.

They followed tracks with dimensions consistent with a wolf, installed trail cameras and eventually were able to collect several hair, fecal and urine samples for the DNA analysis.

Department Director Alan Jenne said in announcing the DNA results on Monday that what set the investigation apart from others was the rigorous examination applied to the samples, including sending them to two independent labs instead of just one.

“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,” Jenne said.

In 2017, a single gray wolf was documented in Nevada near the California line west of the Black Rock Desert about 120 miles (193 km) north of Reno. It later was determined to be a lone visitor related to the Shasta pack in northern California. Before then, the last confirmed Nevada sighting of a wolf was in 1922, near Elko County’s Gold Creek.

“We understand the significance of such sightings and the importance of accurate identification,” Jenne said. “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.”

United States News

Associated Press

Seattle police chief dismissed from top job amid discrimination, harassment lawsuits

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s embattled police chief has been dismissed, Mayor Bruce Harrel said Wednesday. Harrell said at a news conference that he met with Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Tuesday and they agreed Diaz should step down. He will work on special assignments for the mayor with the police department, Harrell said. Diaz’s departure […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

Disneyland performers’ vote to unionize is certified by federal labor officials

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Character and parade performers at Disneyland in California are officially unionized. Federal labor officials said Wednesday that they’ve certified the results of a three-day election that took place earlier this month in Anaheim. Actors’ Equity Association will represent roughly 1,700 performers and assistants who help bring Disney’s popular characters to life […]

27 minutes ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts fugitive dubbed the ‘bad breath rapist’ captured in California after 16 years at large

DANVILLE, Calif. (AP) — A fugitive dubbed the “bad breath rapist” has been arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area more than 16 years after he fled following his conviction for sexually assaulting a coworker in Massachusetts, authorities said this week. Tuen Kit Lee was found guilty at a 2007 trial of the kidnapping and […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

West Virginia’s first ombudsman for state’s heavily burdened foster care system resigns

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The first ombudsman of West Virginia’s heavily burdened foster care system has resigned. Pamela Woodman-Kaehler’s resignation will take effect June 6, the state Department of Health announced in a statement. Woodman-Kaehler said she was “choosing to pursue a new opportunity,” but did not provide more details. Woodman-Kaehler said the ombudsman’s program […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Ohio man gets probation after pleading guilty to threatening North Caroilna legislator

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — An Ohio man received supervised probation after pleading guilty to threatening to kill a North Carolina state senator in a social media message last year. Nicolas Alan Daniels, of West Portsmouth, Ohio, entered a plea to one felony count of threatening a legislative officer last Thursday in Wake County court, according […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

House Ethics Committee will investigate Rep. Henry Cuellar after his federal indictment

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee is opening an investigation into Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, after his indictment earlier this month on allegations of bribery, money laundering and working on behalf of a foreign government. The committee said Wednesday that it voted unanimously to take the rare step of pursuing an investigation into Cuellar, […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Verdict in for wildlife mystery in Nevada where DNA tests show suspected wolves were coyotes