Conservation officials say DNA tests confirm that a canine shot and killed by a southeast Missouri man in November was indeed a wolf.
The Wayne County landowner contacted the Missouri Department of Conservation after shooting the animal so the species could be determined.
The agency said Monday that tests by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed the 80-pound female was a gray wolf, about 2 years old and similar to those from Great Lakes wolf populations.
The Conservation Department says Missouri has no known breeding population of wolves, and the Wayne County wolf lacked a tag or tattoo that would identify it as a captive that escaped.
Missouri hunters in the past decade have occasionally shot wolves that wandered in from other states, mistaking them for coyotes.