A rare gray wolf was killed in Iowa. A hunter shot the wolf while out hunting because he mistakenly thought it was a coyote. Once he was able to get a closer look at the animal, he realized he had made a mistake. He took the animal in, and a DNA test confirmed his fears. It was a gray wolf and not a coyote as he first thought. This was the first gray wolf to be spotted in the state since 1925. Opposing views reported on the sighting of this rare animal on May 13.
This gray wolf was killed back in February, and it took until now for the DNA test results to come back. Gray wolves are a protected species in Iowa. These animals are still rare in the United States now. A majority of the gray wolves in the U.S. are located in Alaska, according to Nature World News. There are 11,000 wolves in that state, and that is over half of the gray wolf population now accounted for the country.
This wolf was found in Buchanan County. A wolf in Iowa is rare, but it is not all that out of left field. Animals are known to move where they want when they want. Until 2009, the gray wolf was one of the animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. It was removed from the list at that time, but the wolves are still protected in Iowa. Scott Kinseth of the DNR Conservation said the following about the wolf sighting: “They are protected animals. We know they are here. Make sure of your target. If in doubt, don’t shoot.”
The hunter involved in this shooting will not be written up for the killing because he genuinely made a mistake. This mistake cost a healthy female wolf her life though. She might have been searching for a mate because it was mating season for the wolf. Hunters do need to be more cautious before they shoot. A 2012 report stated the wolves might soon start to cross state lines into new areas. This is just the first wolf to be spotted in the area since that report was released.
Another wolf was spotted in Oregon after it crossed the state line from California. It found a mate after doing so. Authorities in that area are hoping that couple does breed because it will bring more wolves into northern California. Wolves used to be found throughout the country in the early 1900s, but they are now only found in a handful of states. This creature is no longer protected, but it is still very much endangered.