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Bill aims to protect wolves through DNA testing

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  • Staff Report 

A proposed bill in Albany seeks to clarify the presence of wolves in New York State through DNA testing of large canids, distinguishing them from coyotes to ensure their protection. Introduced following concerns over hunters mistakenly killing wolves, the legislation mandates genetic analysis for any canid weighing over 50 pounds.

This move, supported by State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and environmental groups, aims to bolster the conservation efforts for wolves, classified as endangered and protected under state and federal law since the 1970s.

The initiative addresses the challenge of differentiating wolves from coyotes, exacerbated by sightings of wolves in the Northeast, including a confirmed case in Cooperstown in 2021. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would oversee the DNA testing and publicize the findings, potentially leading to temporary hunting moratoriums in areas where wolves are identified.