Gray wolf confirmed near Davenport

DAVENPORT — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a dead animal found by a conservation officer on the I-80 median along the interchange with I-280 near Davenport is a gray wolf.

State furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer says they saw pictures of it and had it sent to the state veterinarian who confirmed their suspicions. “We’re able to look at the external and internal aspects of this animal. And so far everything with the checks out to be a gray wolf,” he says.

The wolf was found one week ago today (Monday). Evelsizer says the wolf likely wandered in from another state. “Time will tell if we’re able to get a D-N-A test you tissue sample analyzed to explain the origin of where it may have come from,” he says. “But so far previous wolf samples evolved matched with the Great Lakes population. So there’s a pretty high chance that it came from Wisconsin or Minnesota.”

Evelsizer says it appears the wolf was hit and killed on the highway. “Getting hit by a vehicle is one of the bigger dangers they would encounter. The sheer odds of the number of roads they’ve got to cross when they’re dispersing long distances. This animal it’s likely dispersed several hundred miles, and that’s a lot of roads to cross. And when they get down into the Midwest, they’re going to encounter more roads,” Evelsizer says.

He says coyotes are the resident top dog for predators in the Midwest, but wolves are much larger. “An adult coyote is typically 25 to 40 pounds, whereas an adult gray wolf is typically 70 to 110 pounds,” he says.

Evelsizer says it’s important for hunters to understand the difference as gray wolves are protected here. “We always warn all hunters, especially coyote hunters, you know in this case as it relates to the gray wolves, just be very sure of your target,” he says.

Evelsizer says in the past five years or so we’ve had anywhere from one to five confirmed gray wolves in our state.