wolf 300HART COUNTY, Ky. (8/14/13) – Over the past few years, there have been reports, some with actual proof, of animals that are not indigenous to the state of Kentucky that are  moving into the area. Some have been suspected to have been brought in by people.
 
As for those that have been proven to have been spotted, there are wild hogs, armadillos, and lately the black bears spotted in various locations in Western Kentucky. Now, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has confirmed a new breed of creature that has somehow gotten into the state.
 
Federal officials have confirmed that an animal taken by a hunter near Munfordville in Hart County, KY on March 16 is a gray wolf.
 
A DNA analysis performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Wildlife Research Center in Colorado determined the 73-pound animal was a federally endangered gray wolf with a genetic makeup resembling wolves native to the Great Lakes Region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Oregon confirmed the finding.
 
How the wolf found its way to a Munfordville hay ridge at daybreak in March remains a mystery. Wolves have been gone from the state since the mid-1800s.
 
Great Lakes Region wolf biologists said the animal's dental characteristics - a large amount of plaque on its teeth - suggest it may have spent some time in captivity. A largely carnivorous diet requiring the crushing of bone as they eat produces much less plaque on the teeth of wild wolves.
 
Hart County resident James Troyer took the animal with a shot from 100 yards away while predator hunting on his family's farm. Troyer, 31, said he had taken a coyote off the property just two weeks earlier.
 
But when he approached the downed animal he noticed it was much larger. "I was like - wow - that thing was big!" he recalled. "It looked like a wolf, but who is going to believe I shot a wolf?"
 
Because a free-ranging wolf has not been seen in the state for more than a century, biologists were skeptical at first. However, wildlife officials were aware that a few radio-collared northern wolves have wandered as far south as Missouri in the past decade.
 
Wolves resemble coyotes, except they are much larger. From a distance, the size difference is difficult to determine.
 
Troyer convinced Kevin Raymond, a wildlife biologist for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, to look at the animal. Once Raymond saw the animal was twice the size of a coyote, he contacted furbearer biologist Laura Patton, who submitted samples to federal officials for DNA testing.
 
Because state and federal laws prohibit the possession, importation into Kentucky or hunting of gray wolves, federal officials took possession of the pelt. Since this is the first free-ranging gray wolf documented in Kentucky's modern history, federal or state charges are not expected because there were no prior biological expectations for any hunter to encounter a wolf.
 
J.L. Graham
SurfKY News
Information provided Seth Stewart (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife)

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

Posted on 2/2/14

Most Read This Week

July 23, 2015 14349

UPDATE: Family Confirms Body of Missing Teen…

by Shawn Freels, SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 4443

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 23, 2015 4273

Woman Accused of Striking Juvenile with Metal Belt

by SurfKY News
July 22, 2015 4167

No. 9 Steakhouse Suffers Fire; Owners Vow to…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
July 22, 2015 3855

UPDATE - GPD Recovers Stolen Vehicle, Arrest Made

by SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

July 02, 2015 19308

Emergency Response Team on Scene of Standoff on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
July 17, 2015 15317

Muhlenberg Most Wanted - Top 10

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

July 27, 2015 4443

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 3349

School System Announces Free Lunch/Breakfast at…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 1423

Family Needs Help in Paying 18-Year-Old's Funeral…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 1108

Baptist Health Names Regional Marketing, Public…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 1045

New Madisonville Public Parking Area Announcement

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 996

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released –…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 730

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

by SurfKY News
July 28, 2015 596

Hanson Youth Wins Soap Box Derby World…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 585

Missions in a Belizean Paradise

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 537

Pet of the Day - Charlie

by SurfKY News