Local & Regional News

Letter to the Editor: Reader takes heed to a wolf's tale

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted July 11, 2021 by Sally Evans

What good news to read about the Mexican Gray wolf, born in the recovery area on the southeastern Arizona/western New Mexico border, and now out exploring more northern lands.

Jim deVos, from Arizona Game and Fish, makes the observation that a wolf getting too close to humans puts the wolf at risk. This is also true of any wildlife living close to urban lands. Just this morning, there was a bear seen raiding bird feeders in Cheshire, and a small squadron of javalina strolling through east Flagstaff.

Those of us who have the great good fortune of calling northern Arizona home have a responsibility to protect our non-human neighbors and to acknowledge their right to coexist. As changes in climate result in changes in habitat, we will find ourselves sharing space with a variety of fellow creatures, and we must learn to adapt to their presence. There is no reason to relocate this adventurous wolf, and we should wish him safe travels.



Conservation groups oppose removal as wildlife managers monitor Mexican gray wolf near Flagstaff

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted July 7, 2021 by Adrian Skabelund

The Arizona Department of Game and Fish has been monitoring an endangered wolf that has been in the vicinity of Flagstaff and Williams for about two months.

The Mexican gray wolf, named Anubis by seventh graders in an annual pup-naming contest, crossed north of Interstate 40 in May.

But state officials say they may need to capture and relocate the wolf because it has been getting close to populated areas, which could be dangerous for the wolf’s safety.

“A wolf that becomes habituated to humans does not have a bright future,” said Jim deVos, assistant director of wildlife management for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The wolf has been seen by AZDGF personnel near major roads and some homes feeding on carcasses, deVos said. And that could put the wolf at risk for either being killed by a car or shot by a resident, especially if a homeowner mistakes the wolf for another animal.

But not everyone feels the wolf should be removed.

Conservation groups including the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project have been pushing wildlife managers to simply let the wolf be, and prevent its removal.

Emily Renn, executive director of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, said they believe that state officials mainly want to see the wolf gone because it is north of Interstate 40.

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Mexican Gray Wolf Makes Long, Risky Journey From Eastern Arizona To Flagstaff Area

KNAU Arizona Public Radio (Original) Posted July 7, 2021 by Ryan Heinsius

An endangered Mexican gray wolf from eastern Arizona has taken a risky journey over hundreds of miles to the Flagstaff area. It’s a rare instance of a wolf roaming so far westward away from the federally protected recovery population. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The 1-year-old wild-born male was fitted with a radio collar as part of the endangered population. Wildlife managers have used it to follow his movements for months. The Arizona Game and Fish Department recently attempted to relocate the wolf from the Woody Mountain Road area near Flagstaff using a helicopter but wasn’t successful.

Jim deVos is the agency’s Mexican wolf coordinator and says its proximity to humans poses a threat to the animal.

"Given its propensity to stay in and around housing we wanted to move it away take it back to eastern Arizona where there was a much higher likelihood of finding a mate," he says.

Wolf advocates, however, want to see it left alone and say it’s an invaluable opportunity to study a rare dispersal to the Flagstaff area.

"We know that scientists have long concluded that this area is actually really good wolf habitat and is necessary for the recovery of the Mexican gray wolf," says Emily Renn, executive director of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project, which advocates for expanded Mexican wolf territory.

Wildlife officials say they’re waiting to see where the wolf travels next and don’t have any immediate plans to relocate him.

Last year seventh graders in Utah took part in a national naming contest for Mexican wolf pups put on by wildlife advocates. For this particular wolf, they decided on Anubis, the Egyptian god of the underworld.

At last count in early 2021, there were at least 186 Mexican gray wolves roaming eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, representing a 14% percent population increase last year.

Wolf Anubis roams now-closed national forests

Sedona Red Rock News (Original) Posted June 25, 2021 by Scott Shumaker

Amid extreme fire danger, multiple active fires and official forest closures, U.S. Forest Service offi­cials have largely emptied the now-closed Coconino and Kaibab National Forests, but somewhere on the Colorado Plateau above Sedona, a 1-year-old endan­gered male Mexican wolf named Anubis is roaming.

And he’s likely to be left alone by wildlife officials as long as local national forests remain closed due to fire danger.

In June, three seventh-graders named wolf m2520, as he is known to wildlife agencies, Anubis, after the canine-headed Egyptian god of death and the underworld.

If the students had known about Anubis’ current situ­ation, they might have dubbed him “Odysseus,” after the wandering and crafty warrior of Greek myth.

Three seventh-graders named wolf m2520 Anubis after the jackal-headed Egyptian god of death and the underworld in a naming contest organized by Lobos of the Southwest, a wolf advocacy group.

The yearling m2520 was captured and fitted with a radio collar this winter in New Mexico. Then in April, he started dispersing west out of the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area and eventually settled around Flagstaff and Williams, where he has been hanging out for an unusually long time.

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Press Release: Arizona Game & Fish Department Won't Let Wolves Be Wild

Anubis drawing

For immediate release: June 24, 2021

Media contacts:

Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project (928) 202-1325
Cyndi Tuell, Western Watersheds Project (520) 272-2454
Jeff Meilander, area resident (928) 202-0588
Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, (602) 999-5790
Kelly Burke, Wild Arizona, (928) 606-7870


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Conservation groups are voicing opposition today to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s pursuit to capture a solitary Mexican gray wolf who has been living peacefully in the national forests north of Williams and Flagstaff for over a month. There have been no documented human or domestic animal conflicts with the wolf and the agency seems motivated simply by its insistence that wolves stay south of Interstate 40 for reasons that are wholly political rather than based in science. In addition, the agency’s relocation efforts pose a grave risk to this wolf in the context of active fire danger in the area.

“Arizona Game and Fish Department is unwilling to let wildlife be wild, apparently,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “This animal migrated into good habitat, is eating native prey, and is not causing any problems. Yet the agency is still determined to push the wolf back across an arbitrary political line.”

“We have long known that this area provides excellent habitat for wolves, and the wolves are proving that themselves by choosing to move here of their own accord,” said Emily Renn, executive director of Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. “Our community appreciates the important ecological role wolves play and welcomes wolves back to our area. It is time for the agencies to acknowledge that wolves belong here and leave them alone.”

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