If this is a gray wolf, it would be the first one seen in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon since the 1940s. And it would have to have wandered there from the northern Rockies, likely Wyoming.
Researchers think and certainly hope the animal is a gray wolf. Experts in the area say it has the characteristics of a gray wolf and none of those usually seen in wolf hybrids. In addition, they say it appears to be wearing a radio collar similar to those used to track the northern wolves, although the collar is no longer working. Several people have photographed the wolf, but so far efforts to track it have been unsuccessful. If it can be tracked and its droppings collected, DNA testing could determine whether it is in fact a gray wolf.
In any case, there’s a lot of excitement and many crossed fingers among workers for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Center for Biological Diversity, and wolf supporters everywhere. It could mean wolves are spreading across and back into their old range, the large area of the western US they inhabited before they were nearly exterminated in the lower 48.