'Heinous Crime': Rare Mexican Grey Wolf Shot Dead in Arizona Sparking Backlash

Newsweek (Original) Posted January 19, 2022 by Orlando Jenkinson

Abacklash is growing after the reported shooting of an endangered Mexican grey wolf in Arizona earlier this month.

The wolf was named Anubis after the Egyptian jackal-god of death and had been seen in the state last year. The wolf was shot and killed on January 2, the Arizona Central news website reported.

Federal authorities confirmed the killing and are investigating the incident.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) Service told Newsweek: "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can confirm that Mexican wolf male 2520 was killed the first weekend in January. The incident is currently under investigation and therefore, no additional information will be released at this time."

The Mexican grey wolf is endangered in the U.S. with minimum of 186 of the animals left in the wild, according to the FWS estimates published last year.

The killing of Anubis took place in the Kaibab National Forest, west of Flagstaff, AZ.

News of the death sparked backlash from conservation groups in the U.S.

Among them were the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. Executive Director Emily Renn who told Newsweek: "I was heartbroken to hear about the illegal killing of Anubis. I had been tracking his movements in northern Arizona since April 2021, exploring the areas where he roamed and advocating for his freedom and safety for many months.

"He gave me such hope because of his tenacious spirit to travel hundreds of miles back to the forests surrounding Flagstaff, not once, but twice. He wanted to be here, and I was rooting for him to find a mate this spring and settle in the area.

"Human hunters are required to know their target ... Anubis was also wearing a bright pink tracking collar. Anyone could have seen this was not a typical coyote or dog and should not have been shot."

Greta Anderson, Deputy Director of Western Watersheds Project, said in a statement: "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."

The wolf was previously spotted near Flagstaff and in August last year Arizona wildlife officials relocated it about 200 miles to the southeast, beyond the I-40 interstate highway as mandated by a 2017 recovery plan aimed at protecting the animals.

A 2021 U.S. FWS report said that while low, the number of Mexican grey wolves in the country was growing thanks in part to federal and state conservation efforts.

In a statement released March, 2021, the governmental body said: "The wild population of Mexican wolves in the United States saw its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2020. According to the recent count, the U.S. population of Mexican wolves has increased by 14 per cent since last year."

In addition, the FWS said that a record number of Mexican wolf pups had been fostered last spring in the south west.

During April and May nine Mexican wolf pups were fostered in three different packs in Arizona, while an additional 13 were fostered into five packs in neighbouring New Mexico.

The Mexican wolf is protected by state laws in the United States and by federal law in Mexico.

A proposal registered by the FWS and open to public comment until January 27 this year has suggested "revising" the existing actions aimed at conservation of the wolves in an area of Arizona and New Mexico.

This article has been updated to include quotes from Emily Renn.