Possible wolf sightings in north-central Utah
Questions and answers
Are there wolves in north-central Utah?
The first modern wolf confirmed in Utah was captured on November 30, 2002. It was a collared animal from Yellowstone National Park, and it was returned to the park. Since then, there have been scattered reports of wolves making short trips into Utah from Wyoming or Idaho, but there is no conclusive evidence of them establishing packs or territories within the state.
In early March of 2012, USDA Wildlife Services specialists in a helicopter observed what appeared to be very large dogs — or potentially wolves — in the mountains east of Spanish Fork. The DWR responded by searching with helicopters and by sending biologists into the area to look for wolf sign. Three samples were found in the ensuing months. One, a scat, was analyzed and determined to be from a coyote. Two large canid carcasses were also found and collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Analysis of these carcasses is still pending. Reports of feral dogs being released in the area also complicate conclusions. At this time, the DWR has no proof that wolves have established anywhere in Utah. However, given the short distance to wolves in Wyoming and Idaho, occasional forays and attempts at colonization are not unlikely.
What is a wolf-dog hybrid?
A wolf-dog hybrid is a cross between a wolf and a domesticated dog. Wolf-dog hybrids are often mistaken for wolves. There are more than 300,000 of these hybrids in the United States.
How will the DWR respond if wolves are found?
If DNA testing confirms the presence of wolves, the DWR will ask the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to trap and remove them, in accordance with Utah law. Wolves have only been delisted in a small portion of northern Utah (north of I-80 and east of I-84). The area where the animals were seen is outside of that delisted zone. If they prove to be wolves, they are endangered and are subject to exclusive federal jurisdiction.
How will the DWR respond if the animals are wolf-dog hybrids?
If the DNA testing confirms that the animals are wolf-dog hybrids, the DWR will remove them.
Can the public hunt or kill these animals?
No. They are in a part of the state where wolves have not been delisted. If they prove to be wolves, they are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Killing a wolf outside of the delisted zone is against the law.
Where can I learn more about wolf management in Utah?
See the Wolf Management in Utah fact sheet PDF for more information about Utah's wolf management plan and the DWR's efforts to delist wolves across the state.