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article imageFirst grey wolf in Grand Canyon for 70 years is shot dead

By Tim Sandle     Jan 3, 2015 in Environment
A U.S. hunter has reportedly shot dead the first grey wolf seen in Grand Canyon for over 70 years. Wolves are a protected species in this region.
Not only is a grey wolf an incredibly rare siting in the Grand Canyon region, it is possible that the wolf that was shot by a Utah hunter was Echo, a wolf that has received considerable attention in recent weeks.
Echo is a 3 year-old female wolf who has (or had) been wandering through several U.S. states. Early in November a lone female grey wolf was spotted in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon National Park. The wolf was wearing a radio collar, and she had traveled all the way from the Northern Rockies (some 450 miles away.) The wolf was dubbed Echo by the media.
Conservationists were hopeful that the species would continue to disperse and re-establish in territories essential for wolf recovery in the Southwest. Wolves in Utah are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which bans killing of imperiled animals without a special permit.
The animal that was killed apparently the first of these protected animals to be seen at Arizona's Grand Canyon in 70 years. The probability that the wolf was Echo is linked to the fact that the wolf which was slain was wearing a collar.
According to the Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources, the hunter shot the wolf a few miles away from Beaver near the Tushar Mountains. The hunter has not been named.
Commenting on the incident, Michael Robinson, a wolf advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity, is quoted by the website Care2 as saying: "It’s heartbreaking that another far-wandering wolf has been cut down with a fatal gunshot. This female wolf could have helped wolves naturally recover in remote regions of Utah and neighboring states. Federal authorities need to conduct a full investigation into this latest killing, which is part of a disturbing pattern."
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Mark Martinez noted that Utah regulations require hunters to properly identify their target before shooting but cases of mistaken identity sometimes happen.
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