Science

Gray Wolves: Return from Exile

For the first time in seventy years, a Gray Wolf has been spotted in the Grand Canyon!

Once the top predator throughout North America, humans hunted and drove the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) to the fringes of their natural range.  The species was nearly eliminated as a result of livestock attacks and a distorted perception of the wolves’ threat to people. By the 1960’s the Gray Wolf could on be found in preserves in two states and small regions in Canada.  Fortunately, increased understanding, protective measures, and reintroduction programs have allowed the canid’s population recover.

(The Gray Wolf seen at the Grand Canyon. Image Credit: Center for Biological Diversity)

Researchers are cautious about this lone sighting since the nearest breeding colony from whence he could come is roughly 1000 miles away.  Still, many hope this wolf’s appearance signals more to come as Gray wolves’ begin their return to their original habitat.

Read more about the Gray Wolf’s past and present at IFL Science.

 

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