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Grand Canyon Wolf Named “Echo” in World-wide Contest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Grand Canyon Wolf Named “Echo” in World-wide Contest
Name was chosen from over 500 entries
Contact: Bethany Cotton 503.327.4923
Emily Renn, (928) 202-1325, GrandCanyon Wolf Recovery Project
EllenWinchester, (928) 638-2389, owner, Kaibab Lodge
AngelaTanner, (208) 230-1090, mother of contest winner Zachary Tanner
Kim Crumbo,(928) 606-5850, Grand Canyon Wildlands Council
Maggie Howell, (914)763-2373, Wolf Conservation Center
KirkRobinson, (801) 468-1535, Western WildlifeConservancy
Alison Huyett, (410) 693-1591, Pacific Wolf Coalition
Kurt Holtzen, National WolfwatcherCoalition Northern Rockies Representative
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz.— The endangered female gray wolf recently confirmed north ofGrand Canyon National Park now has a name-Echo. Her name was chosen from over500 entries in a contest sponsored by conservation groups across the westernU.S. and by facilities who house and breed wolves for endangered speciesrecovery. Ten-year old contest winner Zachary Tanner from Milwaukie, Oregon, saidhe chose the name Echo “because she came back tothe Grand Canyon like an Echo does.”
DNA tests from scat show that Echo traveled hundredsof miles from the Northern Rockies to the Grand Canyon region, an area that scientistsidentified as one of the last best places in the Southwest for wolves. Agovernment extermination campaign in the early twentieth century wiped out the region’snative wolves by the early 1940’s. Echo is the first wolf confirmed in the areasince. She is currently fully protected under the Endangered Species Act, but couldbe left completely vulnerable to shooting and trapping under an Obama administration plan to strip legal protections forgray wolves nation-wide, ignoring the majority of 1.6 million public commentscalling for continued protections.
In his winning contest entry, Zachary saidhe cares about wolves because “they are a part of the food chain, and theyare so beautiful and we need them. All of them. All of every creature. We needthem. ”
Since the news of her presence on thenorth rim became public in October, Echo has been celebrated all over theworld, including close to home. Contest entries were received from throughout theU.S. and Canada, and from South America, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
Local business woman Ellen Winchester,whose family has owned and lived at the Kaibab Lodge five miles north of theGrand Canyon North Rim for the past ten years, said she and her family feelblessed to have heard and seen this wolf.
“This is our homeand business and we who live in the forest have a healthy respect for theanimals. The Kaibab National Forest, The Grand Canyon North Rim and the animalsthat live there are a legacy for our children and our children’schildren. I was thrilled to hear wolf song. I welcome Echo to theGrand Canyon, which is my back yard. There is plenty of room for all tolive together safely.” said Winchester.
Conservation organizations and wolfspecies survival plan members across the U.S. collaborated on the namingcontest (see list at end).
“Thisis an exciting, historic development that affirms both the peer-reviewedscience that identifies this area as excellent habitat for wolves and the needto maintain Endangered Species Act protections for wolves.” said Emily Renn, executivedirector for Flagstaff-based Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.
KimCrumbo, conservation director for Grand Canyon Wildlands Council, said. “That adetermined wolf could make it to the Grand Canyon region from the northernRockies is greatly hopeful and cause for celebration, and every effort must betaken to protect Echo and to continue the work to protect the wildlifecorridors she used to get here.”
Manycontestants said Echo’s story gave them hope as well. Students from Flagstaffand Phoenix, Arizona; Evergreen, Colorado; and Coventry, Rhode Island submittedthe second place entry, “Esperanza,” Spanish for hope. The Flagstaff studentssaid they chose Esperanza because “we believe the wolf will give hope to theecosystem.” Several students also submitted the name “Hope.”
She came, she saw,she made history, and now she has a name!” said Maggie Howell with the WolfConservation Center in NY, a facility that houses and breeds endangered wolvesfor species recovery. “Echo’s wild milestone is a demonstration of the greatpotential for wolf recovery in areas where this keystone species has yet totake hold.”
It islikely that Echo’s travels led her through Utah to get to Grand Canyon. “In spiteof political and physical obstacles, Echo traveled hundreds of miles todemonstrate that Utah and northern Arizona are home to wolves! We should welcome this and future wolves home,and let them live in peace,” said Kirk Robinson, Executive Director for WesternWildlife Conservancy in Utah.
Pacific WolfCoalition coordinator Alison Huyett said “Just like Oregon’s Journey (WolfOR-7), who took an unprecedented trek down to California and was the first wolfto enter the state in nearly 90 years, Echo’s story shows that wolf recoveryhas just begun in many places throughout the West. Both of these trekshighlight the ample amount of suitable habitat for wolves and the need forconnected Western landscapes for recovery. Neither Journey nor Echo would havebeen able to make these landmark journeys without federal protections grantingthem safe passage.”
NationalWolfWatcher Coalition’s Northern Rockies regional representative Kurt Holtzen said “As welldocumented by Journey’s travels, wolves disperse widely and over longdistances, often through natural and political boundaries. The arrival inArizona of a northern Rockies wolf, appropriately named Echo, illustratesspecifically why wolf recovery is not complete, and why we should maintainfederal protection.”
TheObama Administration’s planned national wolf delisting would remove federal EndangeredSpecies Act protections across most of the continental United States, and wouldgive individual states, many of which are extremely hostile to wolves, theauthority to manage wolves. Without federal legal protections, wolves would notbe able to safely move across state lines to suitable habitat, as this one has.
Currently,wolves have returned to less than ten percent of their historic range in thelower forty-eight states. Wolves from the north and south historically met,interbred and thrived in the Southern Rockies and today’s science tells usthere continues to be an abundance of suitable wolf habitat in southernWyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, including the Grand Canyonarea.
NamingContest Collaborating Organizations