SPRINGVILLE — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is investigating reports of wolf sightings in a remote area near Springville.

On March 4, personnel with the USDA-Wildlife Services flew over the area while performing coyote control and spotted what appeared to be four wolves or wolf-dog hybrids.

Biologists hope a snowstorm in the area will help them track the animals.

"After picking up their tracks and locating the animals from the air, the capture company should be able to capture one or two of the animals by shooting a net over them from a helicopter,” said Kevin Bunnell, wildlife section chief for the DWR, in a prepared statement. “Then we can examine the animals and draw blood samples to see if the animals are related to the wolves released in Yellowstone National Park."

The animals will be outfitted with radio collars, so they can be tracked. It could take a couple of weeks to get the results. 

If the animals are wolf-dog hybrids, Bunnell says the animals will be killed. If the animals are wolves, they are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

DWR biologists have been investigating reported sightings in the area for more than a year. In fall 2010, a hunter gave them a photo of an animal that appeared to be a wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid. A year later, wildlife services personnel examined a calf that had been killed in the area. The way the calf was killed made them suspect that a wolf did the killing.