The Feasibility of Gray Wolf Reintroduction to the

Grand Canyon Ecoregion

Paul G. Sneed

Environmental Studies , Master of Arts Program, Prescott College, 4906 Box Canyon Road, Billings, MT 59101; (406)

245-9117; (fax) (406) 245-0787;


As part of a regional conservation planning initiative, this study is being undertaken to determine

the biophysical and socioeconomic feasibility of reestablishing a top carnivore, the gray wolf

(Canis lupus), in the Grand Canyon Ecoregion (GCE). The GCE is a roughly 1.5 million km 2

area located on the southern Colorado Plateau. The last remaining gray wolves were probably

eradicated in the 1920s and 1930s. Because of an interest in restoring extirpated native species

to this ecoregion, and the desire to increase the size of the gray wolf metapopulation in the

Southwest, there is need for an objective and spatially explicit landscape-scale model of potential

gray wolf habitat. The first phase of this conservation GIS analysis involves utilizing six habitat

characteristics or factors—vegetation cover, surface water availability, prey density, human

population density, road density, and land ownership—to identify and describe potential reintroduction

sites in the Arizona section of the Grand Canyon Ecoregion. Initial results show that

there are at least two localities in northern Arizona suitable for reintroduction of around 100

wolves. This paper is a preliminary report on observations, results, and some recommendations

deriving from the feasibility study.