The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has confirmed that the wolf-like animal seen near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon on the North Kaibab National Forest early November and reported widely in the media is a gray wolf.
The wolf has been identified through DNA analysis of scat as a female gray wolf from the Rocky Mountains. The officials said they will begin the process of comparing the DNA to that of known wolves in the Rockies.
The officials said the particular wolf traveled at least 450 miles to reach suitable habitat in the Grand Canyon region. Gray wolves are currently federally protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Arizona.
Gray wolves range in color from grizzled gray or black to all-white and are considered the ancestor of the domestic dog and it resembles German shepherds or malamutes. Though they once nearly disappeared, today they are found the Great Lakes in northern Rockies and Southwestern United States.
Wolves play a key role in keeping ecosystems healthy. (Source: defenders.org)