DNA analysis has found that the gray wolf that has been sighted in Arizona, north of the Grand Canyon, is from the northern Rockies, LiveScience reports. The gray wolf, which is an endangered species, hadn't been seen in Arizona in some 70 years.
US Fish and Wildlife Service officials collected fecal samples from this roaming wolf that had been left in Kaibab National Forest. Analysis of the samples found that this wolf was a female gray wolf from the northern Rocky Mountains population — some 450 miles away.
Officials were unable to catch her to obtain a blood sample and remove the inactive radio collar on her neck. She was not related to the small population of Mexican wolves living in southern Arizona and New Mexico.
"Wolves, particularly young wolves, can be quite nomadic, dispersing great distances across the landscape," says Benjamin Tuggle, FWS director for the southwest region, in a statement. "Such behavior is not unusual for juveniles as they travel to find food or another mate."