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Death of Protected Grand Canyon Wolf Confirmed

Date
February 11, 2015
Contact
Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923
In This Release
Wildlife

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Death of Protected Grand Canyon Wolf Confirmed

Tragic Killing May Go Unprosecuted Under Flawed Federal Policy
Contact: Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923

Denver— Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed thewolf killed outside of Beaver, UT in December was indeed the wandering wolf,Echo, that had reached the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Having wandered over500 miles, this intrepid wolf was killed by a reckless coyote hunter despite itbeing protected by the Endangered Species Act.

The killingshines a spotlight on the fundamental flaws in the federal government’s“McKittrick policy,” which enables killing of endangered animals. The policyremoves the deterrent for people who might kill an animal protected under theEndangered Species Act because prosecution does not occur unless the governmentcan prove he or she was trying to deliberately kill that animal. Thus, despitecoyotes weighing approximately 30 pounds and a wolf weighing at least 70, and thefact that this wolf was wearing a distinctive radio collar, the person whokilled the Grand Canyon wolf will likely go unpunished.

“With its ‘shootfirst ask questions later’ policy, the government is paving the way for moreendangered and dispersing wolves to be shot without consequences,” said BethanyCotton wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “We call on thegovernment to ditch the flawed McKittrick policy and ensure that criticallyimperiled species receive every protection they deserve under the law.”

The Grand Canyon wolf, along with other dispersing wolvesincluding OR-7, further demonstrate that gray wolf recovery is only justbeginning in the lower 48 states. Wolveshave returned to just five percent of their historic range and are only just starting to return to areas sufferingecologically in their absence including southern Oregon, Utah and the GrandCanyon ecoregion. Leading wolf scientists identify the Grand Canyonecoregion as one of three areas in the Southwest capable of supporting robust,ecologically viable wolf populations. Wolves,as native apex carnivores, are integral to ecosystem health.

“This vitally important species was absent fromthe Grand Canyon region for far too long,” said Cotton. “TheGovernment should be doing everything it can to protect dispersing wolvesincluding prosecuting those people who carelessly kill protected animals.”

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The killing shines a spotlight on the fundamental flaws in the federal government’s “McKittrick policy,” which enables killing of endangered animals. The policy removes the deterrent for people who might kill an animal protected under the Endangered Species Act because prosecution does not occur unless the government can prove he or she was trying to deliberately kill that animal. Thus, despite coyotes weighing approximately 30 pounds and a wolf weighing at least 70, and the fact that this wolf was wearing a distinctive radio collar, the person who killed the Grand Canyon wolf will likely go unpunished.
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