Gray wolf reported at Grand Canyon for 1st time in decades

2014-10-31 11:02
File: AP

File: AP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New York - A gray wolf was recently photographed on the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona in what would be the first wolf sighting in the national park since the last one was killed there in the 1940s, conservation groups said on Thursday.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service was sending a team to try capturing the animal in order to verify its species and origin, although federal biologists are assuming it is a wolf unless otherwise determined, a spokeswoman said.

The agency later issued a statement saying a collared "wolf-like" animal had repeatedly been observed and photographed on US forest land just north of Grand Canyon National Park, and that wildlife officials were "working to confirm whether the animal is a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid".

It said the collar "is similar to those used in the northern Rocky Mountain wolf recovery effort", and that feces would be collected for DNA analysis.

Several photos of the animal were taken over the weekend by a Grand Canyon park visitor who shared them with conservation activists and park staff, according to the Centre for Biological Diversity, which first made the findings public.

New wolf sightings  

A note accompanying images viewed by Reuters said two wolf biologists and "an experienced wolf observer" who reviewed the photos concluded they "appear to depict a radio-collared northern Rocky mountain gray wolf."

Any wolf roaming the Grand Canyon, in north-central Arizona, would be protected under the US Endangered Species Act. If confirmed to be a western gray wolf, it would presumably have ventured hundreds of km south from the Northern Rockies, where the animals were reintroduced in the 1990s and are now estimated to number nearly 1 700.

A separate smaller population, from a subspecies called the Mexican gray wolf, inhabits south-eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, hundreds of km in the opposite direction. But the animal in question appeared larger than a typical Mexican wolf, experts said.

The sighting comes as the Obama administration is weighing a proposal to lift Endangered Species Act protections for all wolves but the Mexican gray subspecies, even in states where wolves are not known to have established a presence.

Centre for Biological Diversity executive Noah Greenwald said the new wolf sightings helped show such a move would be premature.

"It highlights ... that wolves are still recovering and occupy just a fraction of their historic range," he said.

Read more on:    conservation  |  animals

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.