Not every animal living in and around the Grand Canyon has a name, but each and every living organism in the park is part of an extremely delicate balance. Mankind has repeatedly tried to maintain that balance by introducing and removing certain species of animals and plants, but so far, it doesn’t look like mankind has had a very positive impact on the fragile balance. Despite decades of government protection and activism, many species within the Grand Canyon are endangered, and among them is the grey wolf.
Once native to the area where the Grand Canyon National Park now exists, the grey wolf was hunted down and killed off entirely in the 1940s (or so many thought). When a grey wolf finally did appear in the area, very recently, in fact, it was very enthusiastically welcomed by those in the area. Hundreds of school children were asked to vote on the name of this anomalous grey wolf, and when the votes were tallied, the long grey wolf was named Echo, a name very fitting of a creature with such advanced hearing.
Other endangered animals in Utah include…
- The Black-Footed Ferret
- The California Condor
- The Whooping Crane
- The Humpback Chub
- The Bonytail
- The June Sucker
Echo, that grey wolf so long thought to be gone forever, was been killed just months after making an extremely rare appearance near the park. A DNA comparison shows that the wolf killed is the very same 3-year-old female spotted at the Grand Canyon, but its original home was in Wyoming. A man, thinking it was a coyote, shot and killed the grey wolf in December of 2014, and an investigation is ongoing.
Center for Biological Diversity spokesman Michael Robinson expressed his sentiments, saying, “Echo’s killing illustrates the perils that wolves face and the imperative to maintain federal protections as called for under the science-based standards of the Endangered Species Act.” The grey world is classified as endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act in Utah.
In 1972, President Nixon made the excellent point that conservation efforts in the United States were insufficient to protecting and preserving our country’s storied heritage. The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 in recognition of our country’s rich and varied natural heritage. Expressing concerns that many of our country’s most important animals and plants were becoming scarce or extinct, Congress passed the act to protect and recover species that are teetering on the brink of extinction. Grand Canyon wildlife are only a part of the heritage at stake here. Under the Endangered Species Act, all animals at risk are classified as “threatened” or “endangered”. All living plants and animals are eligible to be classified and protected under this act, excluding pests and plague-like insects.
How do you feel about the unjust (but possibly accidental) death of an endangered animal? How could species be protected in the future? What can people do to help endangered animals in their hometown? Let us know in the comments section below!