Research indicates that wolves were primarily extirpated from the northeastern United States by 1900. However, there have been a number of credible observations of wolves reported in the Northeast throughout the 20th century.
According to various reports, a single female wolf was killed in western Maine in 1993, and in 1996 a second wolf was trapped and killed in central Maine.
Another wolf-like caned was mistaken for a coyote and killed in 1997 in northern Vermont, and in 2001, a coyote hunter shot and killed a male wolf (85 lb.) in Day, NY.
In early 2002, an apparent wolf (64 lb.) was killed by a trapper in southeastern Quebec, less than 20 miles from the New Hampshire border, and in October 2006, a male wolf (91lb.) was shot in southern
Quebec, near a location where a wolf pack had been established.
These incidents, along with similar observations and physical evidence of large, unidentified 'dogs' in the northeast over recent years, has led some to believe wolves may actually be dispersing into the northeastern United States from habitat in southern Canada.
Many of these unidentified 'dogs' have exhibited characteristics consistent with an animal that ranges in size somewhere between the eastern coyote and the gray wolf.
Although it remains uncertain at this time, increasingly the scientific evidence suggests the historic wolf of the Northeast was more closely related to the red wolf than to the gray wolf.
According to reports, a recent Geographic Information System analysis that evaluated the potential for wolf dispersal from southern Quebec and Ontario into the northeastern United States found that sufficient suitable wolf habitat is available in the Adirondack Park region of New York and in Maine and northern New Hampshire.
Although there remain a number of potential dispersal corridors connecting existing wolf populations north of border with the expansive wolf habitat in Maine, New Hampshire and New York, there are also significant physical barriers to such a dispersal, including the St. Lawrence River, several four lane highways, rail lines, and dense human developments that may prohibit the movement of a sufficient number of wolves from Canada into Maine.