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Wolf Spotted At Grand Canyon, Killed In Utah, Was From Yellowstone Area

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Testing confirms this wolf, killed in Utah after being spotted at the Grand Canyon, descended from Yellowstone area wolves.

Genetic analysis has concluded that a wolf that had been seen on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon last fall, and was shot and killed in Utah late in December, had been fitted with a radio collar outside of Yellowstone National Park in January 2014.

In announcing that Wednesday, officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they were continuing to investigate the shooting of the female gray wolf, a species which in southern Utah is listed as an endangered species and protected under the Endangered Species Act.

According to geneticists from the University of Idaho'™s Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary, and Conservation, DNA from the wolf killed in Utah matched samples taken from the wolf near the Grand Canyon.  "The results were conclusive that it is the same wolf, identified by the Service as 914F, which was collared near Cody, Wyoming, on January 8, 2014 and spotted in the Grand Canyon area in the fall of last year," a Fish and Wildlife Service release said.

Eva Sargent, director of Southwest Programs for Defenders of Wildlife, said in a released statement that the wolf's killing points to the need to continue ESA protection for the animals.

"It is nothing short of a tragedy that this wolf'™s journey across the West was cut short because she was shot and killed by a coyote hunter. This brave and ambitious female gray wolf that made it all the way from the Wyoming to the Grand Canyon had already become a symbol of what gray wolf recovery should look like '“ animals naturally dispersing to find suitable habitat," said Ms. Sargent. 'œUnfortunately, we have seen time and again that coyote hunting in habitat frequented by wolves is deadly for wolves.

"Sadly, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service preparing to remove all protections for gray wolves, except for Mexican gray wolves, in the near future, it will become harder and harder for wolves to travel safely, and less and less likely that we will hear their howls echo through places like the Grand Canyon, which holds some of their ancestors'™ most favored habitat.'

The animal was first spotted October 6 wandering in the area of the North Rim, the FWS said. 

According to Defenders of Wildlife, "Wolves from the north and south historically met, interbred and thrived in the Grand Canyon ecoregion and the Southern Rockies. There were once up to two million gray wolves living in North America, but the animals had been driven to near-extinction in the lower 48 states by the early 1900s. After passage of the federal Endangered Species Act in 1973 and protection of the wolf as endangered, federal recovery programs resulted in the rebound of wolf populations in limited parts of the country. Roughly 5,500 wolves now live in the continental United States, but today, the species only occupies approximately 36 percent of their suitable range '“ remaining absent from huge swaths of wilderness that provide excellent habitat but are missing wolves as an essential component of ecosystem function. Places like the Grand Canyon ecoregion, Olympic Peninsula in Washington, much of western Colorado, northern California and parts of Utah could all be a home to wolves once again, bringing both ecological and economic benefits to local communities.

"Wolves are an iconic, native species that play a vital role in restoring healthy ecosystems by keeping prey species in balance. In 2013, the Service proposed a federal delisting of gray wolves across the country. In the event of a delisting, management of wolves would be determined by individual states. Wolves are still not recovered in significant portions of their range and are not secure in areas of the country where they have already been delisted. Aggressive hunting, trapping and lethal control in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming are undermining the progress made since wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies in 1995."


This story continues to get worse.

Yea the whole thing sucks.

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