Elk NetworkNevada Investigates Possible Wolf Sighting

General | April 9, 2024

Below is a news release from the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

On Sunday, March 17, a pilot with a helicopter capture crew contracted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), spotted three suspected wolves near Merritt Mountain, north of Elko, during a scheduled moose collaring project. After relaying the observation to NDOW biologists, the department immediately coordinated with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on a plan to thoroughly search the area to confirm the sighting.

During search efforts to confirm the sighting last week, biologists discovered tracks in the area. The freshest tracks appeared to be a set that led in the direction of the Idaho border, where they were lost in broken snow conditions.

In an effort to verify the identity of the animals, NDOW biologists continued ground surveys, and through that effort, they were able to measure track dimensions consistent with a wolf. The biologists then installed trail cameras, collected scat, and explored locations for opportunities to collect hair samples. The collected samples were sent off for DNA testing and the test results are expected within the next several days. 

“We are doing all we can to gather information regarding this sighting and will keep the public updated as we learn more information,” said NDOW Director Alan Jenne. “Nevada is not a historic habitat for wolves, and we’ve had very few confirmed sightings in the state. Wolves are not known to reside in the state of Nevada, but we know that they may occasionally cross state lines for brief periods.”

NDOW is committed to working with all applicable state and federal agencies to ensure public safety amidst this incident, and the department will continue to ensure that Nevada ecosystems and natural resource industries are not negatively impacted by the presence of wolves in the state.

(Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)