On September 21, 2022, after a second independent DNA study confirmed that the wolf killed outside of Cooperstown, New York, was really a wolf, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reversed course and announced that the wolf was indeed a wolf. DEC had been calling the Cooperstown wolf a coyote since it examined the dead animal in December 2021 and conducted a DNA study in early 2022. DEC publicly called the wolf a coyote in July in many news reports, after the release of an independent DNA study by Trent University in Canada, organized by the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society (NERS). The Trent University DNA analysis found that the Cooperstown wolf had 98% wolf genes.
Posts Tagged ‘Wolves’
WOLF DNA: Our reporter Mike Lynch has been tracking the ongoing controversy around a canid that was killed by a Mohawk Valley hunter. While that particular animal was outside the Blue Line, it’s believed to be an indicator that wolves could be returning to northern New York. And now, groups are calling on the state to do more to foster a safe return of wolves/wolf hybrids. Peter Bauer has this commentary in the Almanack. And this week, a second outside DNA test confirmed the animal was indeed a wolf, and the DEC has agreed with the findings.
My question for you: Should NYS play an active role in facilitating wolves’ population being able to re-establish itself?
Photo: Wolf (Canis lupus) – captive. Larry Master photo
The plot thickens around the killing of an 85-pound wolf near Cooperstown in December of 2021 and the response by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Under state and federal law, a wolf that wanders into New York State is protected under the Endangered Species Act. The wolf shot near Cooperstown by a coyote hunter clearly enjoyed no such protections.
Part 2 of 2 (click here for Part 1)
Wherever wolves hunt, ravens are present, scavenging prey, and sometimes leading upwind wolves to potential prey, or to carcasses too frozen or tough for even the ravens’ heavy, pick-like beaks to penetrate.
Ravens not only scavenge wolf kills, but steal up to one third of a carcass, by continually carrying away chunks of meat, caching and hiding them both from the wolves and their fellow ravens. A fascinating study suggested that, since an adult wolf can, by itself, kill any prey smaller than a small moose, the real reason wolves hunt in packs, is to minimize the portion of a carcass lost to ravens! And while it may seem that wolves have the short end of this symbiotic relationship with ravens, idle wolves and ravens have been observed playing together, with ravens pulling on wolf tails, and wolf pups chasing after teasing ravens.
There are few things as equally hair-raising and awe-inspiring as a chorus of coyote calls. My first experiences with these were of the hair-raising variety when I worked at a summer camp in Lake Placid for three years right out of high school.
We spent the summer living in canvas tents that were draped over wooden platforms. At night we could see the fire reflected in the eyes of the “coydogs” that lurked in the trees between the junior and senior camps.
And then we would hear the howls…no, the wails…no, the…the… Words fail to describe the sound these animals make when they all sing together, but it was enough to make me wish that we had a lot more between us than a flimsy canvas wall. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is planning to amend state regulations and designations for protecting endangered and threatened species across the state. DEC’s proposal would remove 19 species from the state’s endangered and threatened species list.
The Eastern cougar is proposed for removal from the list, due to its extinction in New York State. The grey wolf would also be removed, and renamed simply wolf, signifying new understandings of that species based on recent DNA studies. » Continue Reading.
On a moonlit night two hundred years ago, a dog-shaped shadow slipped through the Vermont woods. The large, shaggy canid emerged onto a hilltop pasture, raised its muzzle, and howled – a deep, throaty howl that reverberated through the hills. A chorus of wolves responded.
Wolves were common in the Northeast and most of the U.S. when European settlers arrived. And it didn’t take long for the settlers, who were steeped in folklore that portrayed wolves as evil, to wage war. Towns enacted bounties, to which livestock owners were legally bound to contribute, for every dead wolf brought in. In 1657, New Haven, Connecticut, offered five pounds to anyone who could kill “one great black woolfe of a more than ordinaire bigness which is like to be more feirce and bould than the rest, and so occasions more hurt.” » Continue Reading.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law, protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.
On September 18, ECO Keith Kelly received a complaint that a large black wolf mount was being offered for sale at the Adirondack Mountains Antiques Show in Indian Lake. Officer Kelly reported that he responded and observed the wolf on display without a price tag. After interviewing visitors at the show, Kelly says that he learned that the vendor was asking $2,500 for the mount. According to Kelly, the vendor could not produce any permits to possess the wolf and was issued a ticket for offering an endangered species for sale without a permit. The wolf was seized as evidence and will be forfeited if the vendor is found guilty of the charge. » Continue Reading.
“Rewilding the Adirondacks” is the theme for this year’s 8th Annual Adirondack Habitat Awareness Day, which will be held this Sunday, September 6th, from 10 am to 5 pm, at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center, at 977 Springfield Road in Wilmington.
In addition to discussions about the return of megafauna like wolves, elk, and cougars to the Adirondacks, visitors will be able to encounter wolves, eagles, coyote, fox, bobcat, porcupine, owls, hawks and falcons and learn about critter tracks and the sounds heard while camping or hiking. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Wildlife and Wildlands Network will host a Wolf Activist Workshop at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington in Thursday, September 3rd. Kathy Henley of Wildlands Network, who will moderate the discussions, said the event will focus on direct action in support of wildlife.
Among the topics expected to be discussed are a general introduction to wolf ecology and behavior in the northeast, the uniqueness of why the eastern coyote/coywolf, successful campaigns that include meeting with elected officials, and using letter writing and social media for advocacy. » Continue Reading.
Consider the names bandied about the popular media today: gray wolf, red wolf, coyote, coywolf, coydog. Which of these are species? What is the real deal with hybrids? What does it mean for conservation? » Continue Reading.
An Adirondack environmental group has asked the state Department of Environmental Conservation to consider reintroducing wolves and cougars in its State Wildlife Action Plan, which is currently in draft form and expected to be finished later this year.
“We cannot rely on natural recolonization for cougars from the west,” Peter Bauer, director of Protect the Adirondacks, wrote in a July 14 letter to the DEC. “Aggressive hunting seasons are starting to reduce the overall populations and it’s unrealistic to think that enough males and females will reach the Adirondacks to establish a viable population. New York leaders should take a hard look at reintroduction of cougars to the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
An economic study published by the the Cougar Rewilding Foundation, an organization dedicated to the recovery of cougars to their former range, argues that restoring the Adirondack ecosystem with native wildlife would establish Adirondack Park as an international wildlife recreation destination.
The report estimates that restoring native woodland elk, bison, wolves and cougars to the Adirondack Park would add upwards of $583 million annually in wildlife watching and big game hunting tourism and create 3,540 new jobs. The study reports that restoration would create opportunities for wildlife tracking classes and vacations, darting, howling and photography safaris, and big game hunting. » Continue Reading.
The wolf on the other end of the leash is one of three owned by Hall and his wife, Wendy, a wildlife rehabilitator. The couple owns Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, and the animals are used for education, including popular “wolf walks.” During the walks, visitors hike with Hall and the wolves. Hall hopes the walks will give people a better understanding of animals that are commonly feared even though they rarely attack humans. » Continue Reading.
Wait, before you go,
sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!