DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources say testing has confirmed two large canines that were shot in Iowa over the winter have been positively identified as wolves.
One of the animals was shot in Osceola County and the other in Van Buren County.
The DNR says though gray wolves are listed as endangered species under state and federal laws, it will not pursue charges in the cases.
“We understand this is a sensitive topic and that our decision not to charge will be unpopular with some, but in these two incidents, based on the results of our investigation we feel it is the right course of action,” said Chuck Gipp, director of the Iowa DNR.
The wolves are believed to have come to Iowa from the Great Lakes population in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Some hunters in Iowa may confuse wolves with coyotes, which are legal to shoot in Iowa year-round.
The DNR says if you think you’ve seen a wolf you’re asked contact a local conservation officer. The DNR is reviewing how it handles reports of wolves and other species that make occasional visits to the state.
Wolves are native to Iowa but have been hunted to near-extinction in the past.