UPDATE: Strange Wolf-Like Creature Shot in Montana Identified Through DNA Test
OutdoorHub Reporters 06.19.18
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) have confirmed the identity of the strange wolf-looking creature that was killed in Montana last month. Officials confirmed in a news release Monday that a DNA test proved the animal was in fact a gray wolf.
“DNA from the animal, which was shot legally by a rancher near Denton on May 16, was tested at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensic laboratory in Ashland, Ore. 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,” the release reads.
Montana FWP officials were originally stumped by the animal’s odd appearance when a rancher shot and killed it on his property. The wildlife agency addressed the animal’s condition, and why they believe it “captured the curiosity of the nation.”
“Confusion about the animal might be due to the condition of the animal and the photos, which seemed to show short legs and big ears. Inspection of the animal at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wildlife health lab in Bozeman revealed a relatively normal looking, dark brown wolf.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist Mary Curtis added it’s not at all out of the ordinary for animal’s to have physical variations within a species.
The wolf was a non-lactating female, which means she didn’t have a litter of pups. However, any unique physical features she has might also appear in her siblings or parents and may continue to be passed along by others in her family.
The wolf measured 45 inches from the tip of the nose to the rump and weighed 84.5 pounds. It’s estimated to be between 2 and 3 years old.