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First Possible Wolf Pack Spotted in Nevada in More Than 100 Years

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

First Possible Wolf Pack Spotted in Nevada in More Than 100 Years

Posted 2024-04-12  by  Stephanie Mallory

Wildlife managers believe they saw three wolves traveling together

Image: wolf_gray

Nevada’s first known wolf pack in 100 years may have been spotted by wildlife managers conducting an aerial moose survey. Image by All Exclusive

Nevada wildlife managers are reporting the first possible wolf pack sighting in the state for more than a century.

According to, on March 27, a helicopter crew conducting an aerial moose survey spotted three suspected wolves traveling together near Merritt Mountain, north of Elko. State wildlife biologists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working together to confirm the sighting.

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) observed three suspected wolves, but we have not officially confirmed the sighting yet. We continue to investigate to learn more about the animals,” said Ashley Zeme, the public information officer for NDOW.

State biologists conducted ground surveys immediately after the sighting and found tracks in the snow consistent with those made by wolves. NDOW says DNA testing from two scat and hair samples collected will confirm whether or not the pack sighted were indeed wolves.

In 2016, a single gray wolf was spotted and confirmed west of the Black Rock Desert. Prior to that, the last confirmed Nevada wolf sighting was in 1922, near Elko County’s Gold Creek.

“We are doing all we can to gather information regarding this sighting,” said NDOW Director Alan Jenne. “Nevada is not a historic habitat for wolves, and we’ve had very few confirmed sightings in the state. Wolves are not known to reside in the state of Nevada, but we know that they may occasionally cross state lines for brief periods.”

Although Nevada has had few confirmed wolf sightings in the last 100 years, surrounding states have growing gray wolf populations. Idaho estimated its wolf population at 1,337 in 2022, which is 37% higher than the original recovery goal for the animals, according to Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game.

In 2023, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reported approximately 200 gray wolves in the state.

As of 2024, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said there are approximately 45 wolves that make up six packs in the state.

It’s too early to say if the pack sighting is a prelude to continued wolf presence in the state.

NDOW assured the public it would work with state and federal agencies to protect public safety and ensure that “Nevada ecosystems and natural resource industries are not negatively impacted by the presence of wolves in the state.”

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