March 24, 2017 – A wolf from the Shasta Pack in Northern California was spotted near Fox Mountain in northwestern Nevada in early November, 2016.
Nevada Department of Wildlife personnel investigated the sighting after being alerted to a video recording of the apparent wolf. During its investigation, scat from the animal was found and sent for genetic analyses to determine if the animal was indeed a wolf. The University of Idaho’s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics recently confirmed the droppings were from a male offspring of the Shasta Pack.
While NDOW receives occasional wolf sightings from time to time, this is the first verified presence of a wolf in Nevada since 1922.
“While we have had a number of reports of wolves over the years, primarily in northeastern Nevada,” said Brian Wakeling, Game Chief for NDOW. “This observation is of a lone animal and is not confirmation of wolves with established territories in Nevada.”
Wakeling explains that while it is possible for transient wolves to occasionally wander across the California, Oregon or Idaho border into extreme northern Nevada, there is no evidence that any wolves have taken up residence in the Silver State.
“Following the release of wolves in Yellowstone Park, it has taken over 20 years for the first confirmed occurrence in Nevada,” said Tony Wasley NDOW Director. “Clearly, this confirmed sighting has heightened the Department’s awareness. We will be closely monitoring the situation.”
The Shasta Pack from California has seven known members, two adults and five offspring. While none of the wolves in this pack have radio collars and they have not been located recently, there is no evidence that the animals reside within Nevada. The single wolf was a young male likely in search of a mate, but he hasn’t been spotted within Nevada following this sighting.
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Wolves in Nevada are listed as “endangered” under the federal Endangered Species Act. The federal act prohibits the harassment, harm, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capture, or collection of wolves, or the attempt to engage in any such conduct.
In Nevada, wolves are classified as a game mammal. Currently, there is no open season defined by the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners, which means taking or attempting to take a wolf in Nevada is unlawful even without federal protections. Predator hunters should be cautioned that when hunting coyotes in Nevada there is a slight chance a wolf may be in the area.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) protects, restores and manages fish and wildlife, and promotes fishing, hunting, and boating safety. NDOW’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts are primarily funded by sportsmen’s license and conservation fees and a federal surcharge on hunting and fishing gear. Support wildlife and habitat conservation in Nevada by purchasing a hunting, fishing, or combination license. Find us on Facebook, Twitter or visit us at www.ndow.org.