For Immediate Release, June 3, 2020

Contact:

Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017, michaelr@biologicaldiversity.org

Rare Gray Wolf Found in Utah Targeted by State Trappers

SALT LAKE CITY— For the first time in nearly five years, a gray wolf is thought to be present in Utah, according to state authorities. But the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food says it is setting traps to kill the wolf on behalf of the state’s livestock industry.

The wolf likely traveled from Idaho or Wyoming into Utah’s Rich County, part of a section of the state where the imperiled animals don’t have Endangered Species Act protections. The animal could continue on to the vast majority of the state in which wolves are protected under the Act.

“Utah’s policy that the only good wolf is a dead wolf illustrates why these vulnerable animals still need the Endangered Species Act’s protection,” said Michael Robinson at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This intrepid wolf should be allowed to live and continue its journey. We call on Utah officials to pull the traps and seek coexistence instead.”

Wolves were exterminated in Utah in the early 1920s, and this is the first known instance since then of a government agency trying to kill a wolf in Utah.

Following the 1995 reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, a handful migrated south. This included Echo, a female seen by visitors on the north rim of the Grand Canyon in 2014 and named by schoolchildren. Supposedly mistaken for a coyote, she was shot later that year in western Utah after state officials took no steps to notify residents that the wolf was present and federally protected. Another female was killed the following year in a strangulation snare in northeastern Utah.

“If appeals to Utah officials for humaneness and wisdom fall on deaf ears, we hope this animal evades its callous pursuers and eventually leads a chorus of wolf howls in our cherished red-rock canyons and aspen forests,” said Robinson.

Background

In 2011, through a congressional rider attached to a “must-pass” bill to stave off the U.S. defaulting on its debt, wolves lost their protections under the Endangered Species Act in a region encompassing northeastern Utah, Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon and Washington. Wolves remain protected throughout the rest of Utah.

The Center for Biological Diversity has identified and mapped almost 19 million acres of potential wolf habitat in Utah based on criteria from scientific studies.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.