70-Year First? Gray Wolf Spotted in Grand Canyon

Conservationists trying to confirm multiple sightings
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2014 10:07 AM CST
70-Year First? Gray Wolf Spotted in Grand Canyon
This 2008 file photo shows a gray wolf. One has been spotted around the Grand Canyon for the first time in decades.   (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File)

There's a new visitor roaming the Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim, and it's not exactly the fanny-pack-wearing/Nikon-toting variety: As National Geographic reports, wildlife officials are scrambling to confirm multiple sightings of a "wolf-like animal" that's believed to be a gray wolf—if it is, it would be the first gray wolf in the area since hunting eradicated the animals from Arizona in the 1940s. The creature is wearing an inactive tracking collar, notes LiveScience, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is attempting to obtain a feces sample so that it can confirm whether it is indeed a gray wolf; other possibilities include a wolf-dog hybrid, though officials say it doesn't resemble that, or a Mexican gray wolf.

Meanwhile, don't mess with the critter: "Until more is known about this animal, visitors to the area are cautioned that this may be a wolf from the northern Rocky Mountain population and [is] fully protected under the Endangered Species Act," says FWS in a statement. (He wouldn't be the first gray wolf to have wandered long distances; this guy apparently did it for love.)

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