More than a week ago, on May 16, a lone wolf-like animal was shot and killed on a ranch close to Denton, Montana. However, it’s not the killing of the animal that has spiked the most chatter online, it’s its species that puzzles biologists.
While it definitely looks like a kind of wolf, it has several characteristics that don’t match with what you’d expect from these animals. It had a long, grayish fur and an overly large head with an elongated snout, but it also had ears that were way too big, legs and torso that were too short, as well as fur with an uncommon color.
The result? A storm of online comments and opinions making the wildest claims about the animal. Some suggest that it’s a starving grizzly cub, based on the fur’s color and the big ears. Others insist it’s a dire wolf – you know the ones from Game of Thrones? In reality, dire wolves have existed on Earth, but that was hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Some other online commenters claim that the animal was actually a “Dogman”. For those wondering what “a dogman” is, you can check online, but we warn you – you’ll find it right next to Bigfoot.
But what is the animal after all? It seems like some kind of hybrid between a wolf and a dog, but at this point, no one is 100 percent sure.
“We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back,” said the information manager of “Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks”, Bruce Auchly. “It was near a rancher’s place, it was shot, and our game wardens went to investigate. The whole animal was sent to our lab in Bozeman. That’s the last I ever heard of it.”
So, while we can be pretty certain that the creature is a wolf-dog hybrid, a more pressing question is whether the kill was legal or not?
The animal wasn’t directly attacking any of the livestock in the farm, but FWP warden Zach Norris insists that the rancher had the right to shoot and kill.
“It was real close to the cattle and residences,” Norris noted. “There were domestic dogs in the area and then there were children. It was legitimate for the wolf-like animal to be shot based upon Senate Bill 200. Everything was okay with it.”