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‘The great wolf debate’: No, this video does not show a black wolf on Anchorage’s Hillside

  • Author: Laurel Andrews
  • Updated: February 13, 2018
  • Published February 13, 2018

A video posted by the Anchorage Police Department circulating on social media shows an animal rumored to be a black wolf roaming Anchorage's Hillside.

But the Alaska Department of Fish & Game says it's most likely a dog.

On Monday morning, APD posted the video on Facebook. "WHAT IS IT?" the agency asked the public.

Wolf 2-5-18

WHAT IS IT? #whatisit Check out what one of our dash cams caught the other morning. Could it be the rumored black wolf roaming the Hillside? What do you think?

Posted by Anchorage Police Department on Monday, February 12, 2018

The video, which was recorded on the morning of Feb. 5, came from an officer's dash cam, said police spokesman MJ Thim.

Some officers living on the Hillside had heard a rumor about a black wolf in the area, Thim said, and so the video sparked conversation at police headquarters – is it a wolf or a dog?

APD gave the video to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Thim said.

"Nobody raised any issues so we thought it would be a fun video to post," he said, and let the community weigh in.

By Tuesday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 19,000 times.

"The great wolf debate" has been one of the most successful Facebook posts from APD so far this year, Thim said.

Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh said the state agency was sent a second video of the rumored wolf. Area biologists matched up markings on the animal in the two videos to verify that it was the same creature.

The second video, which Marsh said he did not have permission to release, shows that the animal was wearing a collar with a D-ring, used for attaching a leash.

"We have concluded that the animal in the APD video is a pet whose owner probably lives in the neighborhood," Marsh said.

So, it's a pet. But is it a dog?

Wolf-dog hybrids are illegal in Alaska, Marsh pointed out. And the only way to definitively say if an animal is a wolf-dog is to do genetic testing.

"I have to assume that it's a dog," Marsh said.

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