Wolf in Newfoundland probably made it to island on ice, experts say

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Wolf in Newfoundland probably made it to island on ice, experts say

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Genetic tests confirm that a large canine shot on Newfoundland's Bonavista Peninsula in March was a wolf that probably made it to the island on ice, provincial officials said Friday.

The province's Environment Department said DNA testing carried out by Memorial University and the University of Idaho has verified that the 37-kilogram animal was a Labrador wolf.

Wolves became extinct on the island around 1930. They have been known to occasionally arrive from Labrador, though there is no evidence of a breeding population.

"We can only speculate on how this wolf arrived on the island of Newfoundland, but most likely it travelled from Labrador on sea ice to the island," Environment Minister Terry French said in a statement.

"Wolves are known to travel long distances and with the number of polar bears coming ashore in Newfoundland this spring, sea ice was plentiful enough to provide a travel route for a Labrador wolf."

Earlier this month, genetic testing confirmed that an animal shot in April in northern New Brunswick was a wolf, marking the first confirmed wolf sighting in that province in 150 years.

Officials said that animal could have arrived on an ice floe or was someone's illegal pet.

Organizations: University of Idaho

Geographic location: Newfoundland, ST. JOHN'S, New Brunswick

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