According to the Associated Press, an 85-pound animal killed in Shelburne, Mass. last fall was an endangered eastern gray wolf. A farmer killed the wolf last October because it was killing lambs on his property. Testing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took nearly six months.
This wolf is the first officially documented in Massachusetts since the mid-1800s. The closest wolf population is in Canada. But as in Illinois, where wandering wolves are becoming somewhat of an expectation, evidence in the east is growing that wolves are migrating south into Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and now Massachusetts.
Here’s more from the AP:
“Thomas J. Healy, head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast regional office, said Tuesday recent DNA tests at the agency’s Oregon labs con"firmed it is the first gray wolf found in New England since a 1993 case in upstate Maine.
According to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, the wild gray wolf was considered extinct in Massachusetts by about 1840. One was recorded in Berkshire County in 1918, but was believed to have escaped from domestic captivity.
A handful of confirmed spottings have been reported over the past decade of wolves being found in parts of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, but determining if they were wild or had been kept as illegal pets was difficult.
New England’s large stretches of interconnected woods, mountainous regions and rural farmland offer good north-south corridors for wolves on the move.”
In other words, the wolves are coming.