Gray Wolf Found Dead In Iowa

Gray wolf

Photo: Copyright Michael Cummings / Moment / Getty Images

(Scott County, IA) -- A body of a gray wolf was found this week in eastern Iowa's Scott County. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Furbearing and Wetlands Biologist Vince Evelsizer says it was found in the I-80 median near the I-280 interchange. He says the wolf was taken to Iowa State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for a necropsy.

“He was in fair shape physically, with not much fat under the hide but a good amount of fat internally,” State Veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Ruden said. “He was also moderately parasitized by tapeworms, including Echinococcus, which is not unexpected as wild canids are the definitive host. However, this particular parasite can infect people through the ingestion of eggs in feces, so this serves as a good reminder for our hunters, trappers and wildlife rehabilitators to take care when handling coyotes and foxes.”

Evelsizer says the wolf likely originated from the Great Lakes population in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“Wolves have a complex social structure and will naturally disperse, typically in the fall or winter, not necessarily associated with breeding. We received a quality daylight photo of a gray wolf from a trail camera in Delaware County in November, and this wolf appears to have similar coloring, but we don’t know for sure it’s the same animal or not,” said Evelsizer. “We are thankful Officer VanDerBeek spotted this animal and picked it up.”

The Great Lakes wolf population has been steady to slightly increasing in recent years and is the closest population to Iowa. Over the last five years, Iowa averages from one to five wolves roaming through. Iowa does not have a breeding population of wolves.

“While it is rare for wolves to be in Iowa, this serves as a reminder to coyote hunters to be very sure of your target before pulling the trigger,” Evelsizer said. Wolves are protected in Iowa. Landowners who feel they have an issue with a wolf are encouraged to contact the DNR.

Coyotes typically weigh 25-40 pounds whereas wolves typically weigh 70-110 pounds. For comparison, this wolf weighed 77.5 pounds, and measured 62 inches long from nose to tip of the tail.


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