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Wolf Hunt Under Way At Grand Canyon National Park

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Researchers have been given the go-ahead to try to capture this animal to determine whether it's a full-blooded wolf.

The possibility that a gray wolf is roaming the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to quickly approve an effort to capture the animal and test its DNA to confirm whether it is, or is not, a full-blooded gray wolf, not a Mexican wolf and not a hybrid.

The Service posted a notice on the Federal Register on Thursday announcing that it had given the OK for "authorized qualified researchers to capture, draw blood, and possibly affix a brightly colored GPS radio collar on the suspect wolf and release it back into the general area where it was captured."

The animal was first spotted October 6 wandering in the area of the North Rim, the Service said. Since deer season is under way, "it is believed that the wolf may be in danger of possible harm and could accidentally be shot either as a result of misunderstanding of status or misidentification," the notice said.

If the animal is indeed a wolf, and one from the Northern Rockies, it's quite a traveler, as it's more than 800 miles from Yellowstone National Park, which has a resident wolf population, to the Grand Canyon.

If wildlife biologists can confirm the animal is a gray wolf and not a hybrid or large coyote, something that requires DNA testing of scat or fur, it would mark the first time in more than six decades that a gray wolf has roamed the North Rim, according to representatives for WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Wolves have returned to less than 10 percent of their historic range in the lower 48 states. Scientists identified the Grand Canyon ecosystem as one of three in the Southwest, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service'™s Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area where Mexican gray wolves now roam and the southern Rocky Mountains, as capable of supporting a robust and ecologically viable wolf population, according to WildEarth Guardians.



Scientists identified the Grand Canyon ecosystem . . . as capable of supporting a robust and ecologically viable wolf population . . .

I had no idea.  What a great possibility.

I'm sure that besides the scientists hunting for the wolf, there are a number of locals hunting, too.  Let's hope the wolf is smarter than they are.

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