By Russ McSpadden, Earth First! News
August 19, 2013
According to a recent announcement by state wildlife officials, a 73-pound, federally endangered female gray wolf was shot dead by a hunter in Munfordville, Kentucky earlier this year. Were it Alaska or Idaho this wouldn’t be news, but Kentucky has not seen wild roaming wolves since the mid 1800s. The gray wolf was shot in March —but state officials were skeptical that it was even a wolf, believing that it was more likely someone’s German shepherd. But following months of DNA analysis, scientists confirmed it was indeed Kentucky’s first wolf in over a century and also its last.
This photo posted on KentuckyHunting.net shows the first wolf to wander Kentucky in over 150 years, dead and exhibited as a trophy.
DNA from the wolf was analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Wildlife Research Center in Colorado. According to the analysis, the Kentucky gray wolf had genetic traits akin to wolves in the Great Lakes Region. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory in Oregon carried out independent analysis and confirmed the USDA’s findings.
How the wolf came to be in Kentucky is a mystery.
Wildlife officials identified the man who killed the wolf as Hart County resident James Troyer, who shot the animal believing it to be a coyote.
Its unlikely that charges will be brought against Troyer as, until now, there would have been no reason to believe that a wolf existed in Kentucky. However, state and federal law prohibits the possession of gray wolves, live or in parts, so officials took the pelt from Troyer.
Gray wolves are on the federal endangered species list, but following a controversial proclamation that wolves are “recovered” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency has proposed to remove wolves from the list.
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