LISTEN TO THE AUDIO VERSION
By JEANNE TRUPIANO
Board Chair, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project
The Mexican gray wolf, Anubis, has returned to our area. After being captured by the Arizona Game and Fish Department this past summer and returned to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (a part of the original project area for the reintroduction of Mexican wolves since 1998) Anubis has once again made the 250-mile return journey back to the Coconino National Forest. We welcome Anubis and hope that he continues to be protected by state and federal agencies as intended under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Mexican gray wolf once ranged throughout the Southwest and Mexico. In the early 20th century, it was systematically hunted to the brink of extinction.
Anubis is the result of successful captive breeding and releases by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department to reintroduce our distinctly southwestern wolf. The full recovery of this wolf requires that we expand its range to include suitable wolf habitat available in our area and subsequently increase its population to provide for a robust gene pool. As we can see with Anubis and other wolves before him, the arbitrary northern boundary of Interstate-40 is creating an impediment to recovery efforts. Moreover, the return of Anubis signals that Mexican gray wolves need an updated management plan that effectively responds to future movements into the greater Grand Canyon region.
Management must allow tenacious individuals like Anubis to be left alone to explore, find a mate, and establish territory in areas where they can thrive and contribute to the long-term conservation of the subspecies.
The 90-day public comment period is now open for the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s 10j rule that manages the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf under the ESA. The fact that Anubis is back in our region within less than three months is reason to believe that the current project area is not sufficient for meaningful recovery of the Mexican gray wolf.
Visit gcwolfrecovery.org for more information and directions for commenting on the future management of the Mexican gray wolf.