Local & Regional News

Press Release: Mexican gray wolf "Anubis" killed on National Forest land in Northern Arizona

 

Anubis photo by Keith Hayes 6Photo credit by Keith Hayes.

For immediate release: January 7, 2022

Media contacts: 

Emily Renn, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project (928) 202-1325; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project (520) 623-1878; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MEXICAN GRAY WOLF “ANUBIS” KILLED ON NATIONAL FOREST LAND IN NORTHERN ARIZONA

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Endangered Mexican gray wolf “Anubis” (m2520) was shot and killed illegally on the Kaibab National Forest west of Flagstaff last Sunday, January 2. The wolf had become well-known for his successful forays north of Interstate 40 and beyond the boundary of the current recovery area. 

“We are heartbroken to learn that our adventurous young disperser wolf had his life illegally cut short by a human’s bullet,” said Emily Renn, Executive Director of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. “Anubis filled us with the hope that wolves will keep coming back to the excellent habitat of the Grand Canyon region. I am grateful for the time knowing he was in the forests nearby. The power of people who love and care for wild creatures and want to see wolves restored to their rightful place will someday overcome the small minority of people who kill for no reason.”

“It’s tragic that Anubis was killed and many of us are grieving his loss, but despite this heinous crime, it is also profound confirmation that northern Arizona should be part of the wolf recovery effort,” said Greta Anderson, Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project. “The arbitrary boundary at Interstate 40 is not based on science or suitability but on the continued reluctance of the state game agencies to let wolves be wild and roam wherever they choose.” 

“The Arizona Game and Fish Department could have done more to protect Anubis, including public education efforts, the closure of hunting units, and by promoting coexistence,” continued Anderson. “As far as we know, the department didn’t do anything to ensure this wolf’s safety in the many months he was up north.” 

The best available science recommends that real recovery for Mexican gray wolves includes the establishment of a northern Arizona population. A new proposed rulemaking period gives the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an opportunity to expand the recovery boundary; the public comment period is open until January 27, 2022. Conservation groups are hoping that the federal agency will consider a plan to remove the Interstate 40 boundary.

Anubis was wearing a bright pink collar at the time he was shot, and his death is under federal investigation. Mexican gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or up to one year in jail, plus a potential civil penalty of up to $25,000.

Anyone with information about Anubis’ death should call 1-844-397-8477 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a reward of up to $1,000, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the wolf’s death. Additional reward funds of up to $37,000 have been pledged by conservation organizations and private individuals for information leading to the conviction of anyone who kills an endangered wolf.

Photos of Anubis are available upon request.

###

Anubis photo by Keith Hayes 5Photo credit by Keith Hayes.

Coconino Voices: Mexican gray wolves belong in the wild, wherever they roam

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted December 15, 2021 Op-Ed by Greta Anderson

No one was particularly surprised when Mexican gray wolf m2520 (named “Anubis” by a middle school class) returned to the Flagstaff area at the end of October. After having spent nearly four months hanging around the area over the summer, he must have remembered the abundant elk and deer of the region's forests.

In August, the Arizona Game and Fish Department had already tried to relocate him by moving him 200-miles southeast in an attempt to enforce the arbitrary and artificial boundary represented by Interstate 40, but wolves don’t read maps.

Almost as soon as the Department dropped him off on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Anubis started running towards his new territory in northern Arizona. He’s a young male wolf, and following his instinct to seek out new terrain and possible mates. Since his return, he’s been successfully crossing the I-40 boundary, avoiding cars and staying out of conflict with livestock.

Mexican gray wolves belong in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests and in the Grand Canyon region, where prey is widely available and there’s plenty of open space for native wildlife to survive and thrive. The only reason Mexican wolves aren’t allowed to wander in suitable wolf habitats is a wholly political decision to keep them south of I-40 and within a limited recovery area for the sake of appeasing ranchers and the anti-wolf states to our north.

But in the context of climate change and species adaptation, as well as an recovering population of wolves in the established range, it makes a lot of sense that Anubis and others would be expanding into new turf.

The question is, can we let wolves be wild and free, self-directed and adventurous? We hope so. We strongly oppose the recapture of Anubis for the sake of enforcing human-drawn lines on a map. Without any good reason to relocate him again, we fear that wildlife agencies are nonetheless inclined to remove him from the wild population.

He isn’t the first Mexican wolf near Flagstaff, and he won’t be the last, so we must all just learn to get along with native species. That means Arizona Game and Fish Department needs to start helping Mexican gray wolves live in their expanding habitat rather than seeking to control this trail-blazing wolf. It also means that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to buck the unscientific state politics and provide a new management rule that recognizes the current northern boundary won’t – and shouldn’t – hold.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently within a planning process and seeking public comments by January 27, 2022. More information about the proposed rule can be found online at https://bit.ly/3EIUkmo.

-----

Greta Anderson is the Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project, a nonprofit advocacy group seeking to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife.

Mexican gray wolf Anubis is back on the howl

Sedona Red Rock News (Original) Posted November 7, 2021 by Scott Shumaker

Anubis, a wide-ranging Mexican gray wolf, has returned to the Flagstaff-Sedona area after wildlife officials captured him outside Flagstaff in August and then released him in far eastern Arizona.

In May, the yearling male wolf traveled over 400 miles from his birth pack in New Mexico before spending the summer on the Coconino Plateau above Sedona — a long way outside the current Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area, which is centered around the Arizona-New Mexico border.

Young wolves naturally disperse long distances in search of mates, but this was a farther-than-average dispersal, and Anubis managed to survive in the area longer than other dispersing Mexican wolves in past years.

In August, federal and state wildlife officials decided to capture and relocate Anubis closer to his peers, citing in part his habit of wandering close to low-density residential areas. Officials had hoped that the 1-and-a-half-year-old wolf would settle down with a mate in the core of the MWEPA, but soon after Anubis was released, he began heading west toward Flagstaff again.

The radio-collared wolf has been back in the area above Sedona for several weeks now. He’s been recorded in the region around Mormon Lake, and more recently has moved north of Interstate 40.

Read more ...

Letter to the Editor: Let Anubis, the Mexican gray wolf, act as an anecdote

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted November 7, 2021 by Jeanne Trupiano

The Mexican gray wolf, Anubis, has returned to our area. After being captured by the Arizona Game & 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 & Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game & 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 which 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 & 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.

Jeanne Trupiano
Board Chair, Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project

Letter to the Editor: Time to learn lessons from Anubis, the Mexican gray wolf

Arizona Daily Sun (Original) Posted November 7, 2021 by Sara Wilbur

I was happy and encouraged to hear that Anubis (m2520), the Mexican gray wolf that arrived in the Flagstaff area in May 2021, has returned to our area after the Arizona Game & Fish Department relocated him in August.

It is clear that something about the ecosystem in this area north of I-40 is appealing to Anubis. Who is to say that the general public or our government agencies know what Mexican wolves need to thrive more than they do?

That being said, the latest scientific evidence provides the best guess as to which environmental conditions are ideal for wolf establishment. The I-40 boundary line for Mexican gray wolf protection is arbitrary, politically motivated, and ignores the science: northern Arizona, including the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, is a highly suitable area for wolves, especially in regards to the predicted northward expansion of Mexican gray wolves due to climate change.

I sincerely hope that Anubis is left alone this time around and that he is given the space to determine the best place to call home.

Sara Wilbur
Flagstaff

More Articles ...