DNA Test Confirms Grand Canyon Wolf Wandered at Least 450 Miles From Northern Rocky Mountains

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz.— DNA tests released today confirm that a wolf repeatedly photographed at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is a female gray wolf originating from the northern Rocky Mountains. The wolf is currently protected as a member of an endangered species but would be stripped of her protective status along with other vulnerable wolves under an Obama administration proposal anticipated to be finalized this year.

“This wolf’s epic journey through at least three western states fits with what scientific studies have shown, namely that wolves could once again roam widely and that the Grand Canyon is one of the best places left for them,” said Michael Robinson with the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s heartening this animal has been confirmed as a wolf but I am very worried that if wolves are taken off the endangered species list she will be killed and wolf howls from the North Rim’s pine forest will never again echo in the Grand Canyon.”

The wolf, wearing an inoperative radio collar, has repeatedly been observed in Grand Canyon National Park and the adjoining Kaibab National Forest since early October. Tests were conducted on feces to help determine the animal’s origins. The minimum straight-line distance from her home to present location is about 450 miles. It is likely the wolf wandered even farther, however, by taking a more meandering route.

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Contact: Michael Robinson

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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director, (520) 623-5252 ext. 315

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking, (415) 632-5316

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos

Banner photo courtesy Flickr/Lalo Pangue; wolf photo courtesy National Park Service and Arizona Department of Fish and Game