HELENA, Mont. — The mystery is over: Montana wildlife officials confirm that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was actually a wolf.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren’t certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it near Denton in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears bigger than normally seen on wolves.
FWP said in a statement Monday that an inspection of the animal at its wildlife health laboratory revealed it to be a relatively normal looking wolf. DNA tests confirmed that the animal was a gray wolf.
Officials say this wolf was a 2- or 3-year-old female with unique physical features. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist Mary Curtis says it’s not unusual for there to be physical variations of animals within a species.