For the first time since the 1940s, a gray wolf is roaming the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
The wolf, which is wearing an inactive radio collar, is likely a gray wolf that dispersed from the northern Rocky Mountains.
The wolf is protected under the Endangered Species Act, which prohibits killing, wounding or harassing the animal and provides other protections. However, those protections could be stripped under the Obama administration’s plan to remove wolves from the list.
“This wolf’s journey starkly highlights the fact that wolf recovery is still in its infancy and that these important and magnificent animals continue to need Endangered Species Act protections,” said Michael Robinson, a wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service repeatedly sought to remove endangered species protections for wolves. The latest proposal, which the agency scheduled to be finalized this year, would eliminate protections for the Grand Canyon wolf.
“We must insist that every effort be taken to protect this brave wanderer,” said Kim Crumbo, conservation director for Grand Canyon Wildlands Council.
“Wolves like this one at the Grand Canyon and OR-7 demonstrate that, when protected, wolves will naturally recolonize their native habitats, restoring balance to wounded landscapes,” said Drew Kerr, advocate with WildEarth Guardians.