NatGeo: Mystery Grand Canyon Animal Is a Gray Wolf—Can It Survive?

TWN contributor Brian Ertz’s sister, Natalie Ertz, is featured in the latest National Geographic in a story by Christopher Ketcham. It’s about “Echo,” the lone wolf that dispersed all the way to the Grand Canyon coming from Utah or Colorado, but originally from among the wolves of the Northern Rockies.

Mystery Grand Canyon Animal Is a Gray Wolf—Can It Survive?

KAIBAB PLATEAU, Arizona—On a recent evening not long after dusk, Natalie Ertz stood in a meadow near the Grand Canyon’s north rim and howled like a wolf.

There was a good reason for the howl. . .

Read the full story



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  1. Sam Parks Avatar
    Sam Parks

    It has been almost 48 hours since it came out that a rider in the must pass budget bill would prohibit USFWS from moving forward with a listing rule on both greater and gunnison sage grouse, and yet there is no post on “The Wildlife News” about this????

    This is the most flagrant attack on imperiled species and the integrity of the ESA in history, and yet there is no post on “The Wildlife News” about this???

  2. Sam Parks Avatar
    Sam Parks

    I guess it’s a case of: “Why would we waste time talking about the sage grouse, when we have the charismatic, noble wolf to save?”

    1. Ed Loosli Avatar
      Ed Loosli

      Sam Parks:
      Over the last few days, there have been dozens of comments on the “Riders” attached to the Spending bills and the Defense Authorization bill, many mentioning the severe plight of the sage grouse. Here are two (from the Dec.1,2014 issue):

      Ida Lupines says:
      December 10, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Sage Grouse Species Get Thrown Under the Omnibus


      Ed Loosli says:
      December 9, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      House Passes Spending Bill That Would Block Protection Efforts For Sage Grouse And More

      1. Sam Parks Avatar
        Sam Parks

        Ed, 99% of people who read the Wildlife News do not read the comment sections, I can assure you. This is a separate issue from the Defense Authorization Bill. The idea that this is not deserving of a post (not some comment buried halfway down a 100 comment post that maybe 1% of people who come to this site are going to read) is beyond baffling to me.

        1. Nancy Avatar


          Where did you get that figure 99%? New names/commenters are popping up frequently now on the WN, which means people are reading about the issues and paying attention.
          Just a few of the recent threads on sage grouse (just need to do a search at the top of the page)

        2. Immer Treue Avatar
          Immer Treue

          “Ed, 99% of people who read the Wildlife News do not read the comment sections…”


    2. timz Avatar

      The ESA is finished thanks to the gutless Democrats in the Senate and that joke in the White House for not putting a stop to this the first time. After the sage grouse it will be the grizzly, and keep going from there.

      1. WM Avatar

        I would say some aspects of the ESA are finished, not because of Democrats and the White House, but because of over-zealous litigation on the technical points of the law along with over-the-top companion NEPA claims which neither law may have been intended by the drafters of both to address in the 21st Century. I wonder what Senator Ed Muskie would say today, if he had to balance environmental interests against a mostly lagging economy which leaves some areas of the country behind.

        And, there is considerable probability we will be seeing some of this play out over the next two years with R majorities in the House and the Senate, and a President that won’t have the cojones to veto the changes (or if attached as riders to must-pass bills), because the D’s want to hold on to the Presidency for another 4 years. Any, radical moves to the left will be discouraged.

        And, if you think it is only big business that is backing the R’s, consider the fact that institutional investors also include the pension funds for state and local governments, including universities and colleges (public and private) all across the country. Many invest their assets in companies heavily involved in extractive industry (coal, oil/gas, timber, and minerals). So, if you are a wildlife advocate who works for a government agency or maybe even a larger NGO advocacy group, it would appear the institutional investors are working for your financial interests WHILE you personally advocate for something different and more positive for wildlife and wildlands for the future.

        Yeah, it’s complicated.

        1. Louise Kane Avatar
          Louise Kane

          The problem with succumbing to the temptation to balancing environmental considerations against a lagging economy is that the economy will always be used as a justification to weaken regs, usurp resources and generally defile the environment. The economy goes through ups and downs but we are running out of natural resources to compromise. Once a vital habitat, species, marine web, or old growth forest is gobbled up in whatever way it might be, there is usually no recovery. We are in the last throes of a fight that has to be won. Our government should be prioritizing protection of species and habitats at any and all expense, using every tool possible to promote less population growth here and elsewhere, and putting money into new cleaner energy technologies. It’s literally a fight to the death and the fatally corrupted are winning.

  3. R k sharpe Avatar
    R k sharpe

    The sad and distressing thing is, that these riders are becoming the way to go when dealing with wildlife and the habitat we all live in. What becomes an inconvenience and/or a hindrance to prosperity and progress,they become riders in a must pass situation,and a time deadline, to boot. A rider was used before, under the same circumstances,a must pass,and it dealt with wolves.

    1. Kathy Cheatham Avatar
      Kathy Cheatham

      you are so right, its disgusting isn’t it

  4. Barb Rupers Avatar
    Barb Rupers

    “Recently, I got a long look at this animal, and while it looked like a wild wolf, it behaved otherwise.” Said Arizona Director of Game and Fish Robert Mansell.

    Planting seeds of doubt to spread about.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan

      It has been conclusively established to be a wolf and from Northern Rockies genetic origin.

      1. rork Avatar

        “Natural dispersal” was what the writer was questioning.

    2. larry thorngren Avatar

      What?? It didn’t run like crazy when he rolled down his window like the hunted wolves do here in Idaho??

    3. Kathy Cheatham Avatar
      Kathy Cheatham

      Robert Mansell has his head somewhere else. He couldn’t care less about our wildlife in Az unless it benefits hunters or ranchers or his pockets. He needs to be fired

  5. Yvette Avatar

    “Wolves will never be fully recovered if they’re just island populations scattered across the West. These populations need to connect up,” said Carroll.”

    I’m glad this wolf doesn’t know or understand how much hope she carries with her presence. How likely is it that she will have a similar outcome as OR-7? Improbable as it may be, there is hope. I guess she got a different name, but I named her, Esperanza.

    1. larry thorngren Avatar

      I have a vented cargo trailer that would hold three or four wolf kennels. If Carter could live- trap a few wolves and some of you would be willing to come along with your vehicles as scouts to get us around check stations, I think we could deliver a few more wolves into the area.
      Two-three days of travel should do it.
      Time to start thinking out of the box!!!!

      1. Mark L Avatar
        Mark L

        Interesting implications of human-involved movement of wolves (or other predators for that matter). I suspect AZ Director Mansell is wrong, and they moved naturally, but what are the implications if they WERE moved? After all, the initial extermination (and later SSS) are already due to humans. What happens if we aid instead of destroy them?

        1. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          Don’t give the anti’s any more encouragement for more inane (but dangerous nonetheless) conspiracy theories!!!! Right now they are working on making a pile of E. granulosis into a mountain, as well as still pushing the larger Canadian subspecies theory.

          I wouldn’t wonder if that is why you occasionally hear of hunters walking up to hikers and their dogs that resemble wolves to shoot them – they’ve been told and now think it’s a wolf hybrid!

          1. Ida Lupines Avatar
            Ida Lupines

            Although the truth may never be known, I have had numerous folks call me to question how a wild wolf traveled more than 450 miles from the Northern Rockies to Arizona without having been observed somewhere along the way?

            Sounds like this gentleman is writing his own lore. What does he think about OR-7’s long trek, the same thing? These people are really out there – science doesn’t even enter the picture at all, they are so nutso about wolves. It is utterly ridiculous, and frightening.

            1. Mark L Avatar
              Mark L

              a mountain lion in Kentucky (shot, of course):


              From the article:
              “The woman called animal control, but officials there told her “that’s more than what we can handle, you need to call fish and wildlife.”

              Kentucky Fish and Wildlife program coordinator Steven Dobey said officers had to shoot the mountain lion because they didn’t have tranquilizers with them. He said it was nearly dark and if they waited for someone to bring them tranquilizers, the animal could have gotten away and posed a danger to the public.

              “The decision was made to euthanize the animal. It was the right decision,” said Dobey.”

              Hopefully this isn’t how ALL dispersers are treated in the south, but it’s looking that way. Wonder how many pets and livestock it passed up only to be shot as a ‘threat’

      2. Nancy Avatar

        Reminds me of the novel The Buffalo Commons/Wheeler, Larry. Course the villain in that book got wolves across the border by claiming they were sled dogs 🙂

  6. Louise Kane Avatar
    Louise Kane

    Some speculation that this animal may be the wolf spotted near Grand Canyon
    tragic really either way

    1. Ed Loosli Avatar
      Ed Loosli

      Fortunately for the North Rim Grand Canyon wolf who’s radio collar is not working, this dead Utah wolf was wearing a working collar. This “mistaken identity” case is exactly why in eastern North Carolina red-wolf country, coyote hunting has been banned.

    2. Yvette Avatar

      “mistaken for a coyote”

      This isn’t a red wolf or a Mexican grey, so is it that difficult to determine a grey wolf from a coyote?

      Either the hunters are incompetent or that is their pat excuse. It will not change until the State F&W agencies hold these hunters accountable. I doubt that will happen with the conservation for ungulates paradigm we now operate under.


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Stephany Seay