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Wildlife Officials Tracking Wolf-Like Animal in Flagstaff

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Courtesy of Shawn Williams
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Officials are attempting to capture an unidentified wolf-like animal that’s been seen in neighborhoods south of Flagstaff. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’s the second report of a possible wolf in northern Arizona in as many weeks.

Officials say the animal is likely to be the same one captured by animal control officers last week south of Flagstaff. It later escaped from a county facility.

If recaptured, biologists and wildlife officers will draw the animal’s blood. Shelly Shepherd of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Flagstaff office says its exact species will be determined through DNA testing.

“We’re treating this as if it was a wild animal situation until we can learn more. Just appearance-wise, it does have a lot of characteristics that makes it look like a wolf,” Shepherd says.

The animal has recently been seen by several residents in Flagstaff off Lake Mary Road. Officials say it weighs more than 100 pounds and does resemble a gray wolf. But, Shepherd says there are reasons to believe it could be a wolf-dog hybrid.

“What is getting reported to me is that domestic behavior that is being observed is that you can get fairly close to it. Best I understand there hasn’t been any aggressive-type behavior,” Shepherd says.

Wildlife officials are also tracking a wolf-like animal near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. They say that animal may be a dispersed member of a northern Rocky Mountain population.

Officials aren’t sure what they’ll do with the Flagstaff animal if captured, but Shepherd says it will not be euthanized. She says if members of the public encounter the animal they should not approach it.

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