Biologists were surveying moose in Nevada last week when they spotted an unlikely group of wild canines, the Nevada Current reports. Though it’s not yet official, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDW) suspects that its moose-counting crew saw a group of wolves traveling through the mountains near the Silver State’s northeast corner. If the sighting is confirmed through DNA analysis, it’ll be the first documented instance of a wolf pack traveling through Nevada in more than a century.

The pack was traveling together about 90 miles north of Elko, not far from the Idaho border where wolves were reintroduced in 1995. Nevada is now deferring to federal agents for confirmation of what could be the first pack sighting since 1922. Movement of a single wolf was last confirmed in 2016.

After the sighting, the crew searched the area on foot. They collected poop and hair samples for DNA testing. They also found tracks leading north toward Idaho that eventually petered out in the snow melt. 

“We are doing all we can to gather information regarding this sighting,” Alan Jenne, Nevada Department of Wildlife director told the Nevada Current. “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.”

In the decades since gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and the central Idaho wilderness, packs have migrated into several surrounding states. Oregon has nearly 200 while California has less than 50. Wolves were already moving into Colorado on their own before Colorado Parks & Wildlife started transplanting them onto the North Slope in December of 2023.

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Possibly more surprising than the recent wolf pack sighting, though, is the number of moose that Nevada biologists are finding during their aerial surveys. According to NDW, Nevada’s moose population has doubled in the last five years to more than 100 in Elko and Humboldt Counties.