"I think they took an opportunity to get something on video, which is really foolish," he said.
If found, the man could face a charge that falls into a category of disturbing or harassing wildlife — a federal petty offense that carries a maximum six months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Wright said rangers likely would not pursue animal cruelty under a state statute because that would require them to retrieve the squirrel and prove that it was injured or had died.
The average depth of the Grand Canyon is 1 mile, but its rock outcroppings, trails, and other ledges don't guarantee that something going over the edge would fall a mile below, Wright said.
Squirrels are an everyday sight at the Grand Canyon and have become accustomed to visitors, climbing on their laps, begging for food and ransacking backpacks. Park officials discourage visitors from petting or feeding wildlife because the animals can bite or attack.