October 14, 2019

Grand Canyon Wolf or Hybrid?

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Editor’s Note – It matters little at this point in time whether this canine creature spotted near the Grand Canyon is a real(?) wolf or a hybrid. It is only a matter of time before hybridization of canines, wild and domestic, takes over areas, especially near human-settled landscapes. Wolf advocates will deny this inevitable reality but the real shame will be that this kind of event actually threatens the protection of the real wild gray wolf. Senseless! With hybridization comes a changing of the character and behavior of wild dogs. The results are not in anyone’s best interest.

“Authorities are trying to figure out if a wolflike animal discovered near Grand Canyon National Park is an endangered gray wolf from the Rocky Mountains or a wolf-dog hybrid.

The animal was first spotted about three weeks ago near the canyon’s North Rim on the Kaibab Plateau of the Kaibab National Forest, Fish and Wildlife Service officials Steve Spangle and Jeff Humphrey said today. Authorities have obtained photos of the animal taken by members of the public.”<<<Read More>>>

*Update* – Nov. 10, 2014 7:00 am EST

All, wanted to take a quick moment to send you an update on a rapidly emerging issue in Northern Arizona. In early October, the Department received a note from a hunter that he saw what he thought could be a wolf on the North Kaibab. In that there is a wolf-hybrid breeder in the area, the first assumption was that this was a hybrid that had escaped. We later received word from Utah that they had heard of this sighting and requested any assistance from the Department that we could render. We received a possible frequency to a radio collar that could be associated with the animal that had been seen in Utah. The following day, an AZGFD plane searched for the frequency without success.

Given the potential that the animal had originated from a northern Rockies population, the USFWS has taken the lead in all actions regarding this animal. In that Region 2 did not have a permit to handle an gray wolf, FWS began the process to amend their permit. This was accomplished this past week. The FWS will begin trapping efforts to capture the animal sometime this weekend with the purpose being to obtain the collar from the animal, attach a new collar and to collect tissue for DNA sampling to determine taxonomic status.

A citizen obtained a photo of the animal and provided this to the Center for Biological Diversity, which developed a press release essentially stating that a northern gray wolf was observed on the rim of the Grand Canyon. There is a great deal of interest from the media throughout the US. The response to media requests has been largely to the points below:

1. There is no certainty to the issue of is this animal a wild wolf or a hybrid
2. Only capture to obtain the collar and DNA sample will clarify the above
3. Statements declaring this a wild wolf are irresponsible without clarification
4. The FWS is the agency with primacy in the event that it is a wild wolf and hence, that agency is the primary agency to contact with questions
5. I have responded to some media inquiries stressing the above

The Department’s Wildlife Manager has taken photos this week.

In summary, there is a wolf-like animal on the Kaibab, it has gained national attention, efforts are being made to capture the animal for taxonomic clarity. I will keep you informed as more information is generated.

Have a good weekend.

Jim deVos
Assistant Director
Wildlife Management Division
Arizona Game and Fish Department

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