Nfld. & Labrador

DNA samples prove 2nd wolf in Newfoundland

An animal trapped on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula has been proven to be a wolf, government officials revealed Thursday.
The discovery of a wolf on Newfoundland's Bonavista Peninsula this winter has triggered retesting of older samples. (CBC )

An animal trapped on Newfoundland's Baie Verte Peninsula three years ago has been proven to be a wolf and not a coyote, government officials revealed Thursday.

It becomes the second proven case of a wolf on Newfoundland where wolves have not been known to live for more than 80 years.

The first case involved an animal killed on the Bonavista Peninsula this winter, which was shown to be a Labrador wolf.

In a statement, Environment and Conservation Minister Terry French said the discovery prompted officials to review and retest earlier samples "consistent with domestic dog or wolf."

"In the past, samples had been determined to be more similar to coyote or domestic dog than to wolf. At the time this work was conducted, however, the laboratory doing the analysis did not have any samples from Labrador wolf to compare," French said.

While the grey wolf is common in Labrador, wolves have been rarely seen in Newfoundland. A species known as the Newfoundland wolf has been extinct since about 1930.

The government said that further retesting may yield more proof of wolves on the island.

"The department will continue to collect predator samples for DNA analysis and will report any further evidence of wolves on the island of Newfoundland," French said.

Samples were retested at Memorial University labs in St. John's and at the University of Idaho.