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Gray wolf confirmed in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. — Genetic testing results recently confirmed a large canine killed Jan. 28, 2021, near Ueling, was a gray wolf.

The female wolf had been legally shot by coyote hunters, who contacted the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Genetic testing showed the animal originated from a population of wolves found in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

“This is the third confirmed instance of wolf presence in Nebraska since the early 1900’s,” said Sam Wilson, Game and Parks Furbearer and Carnivore program manager. “Wolves can disperse great distances from their nearest populations in the northern Rocky Mountains or Upper Great Lakes. While we don’t have any evidence of resident wolves or reproduction in Nebraska, we can expect young wolves in search of new territory to cover long distances and make it to Nebraska from time to time.”

The first modern confirmation of a wolf occurred near Spaulding in 2002. The second occurred south of Bassett in 2020. All three confirmed wolves in modern times were genetically linked to the population in the upper Great Lakes.

For more information about wolves, their history and range, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/graywolf.

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