Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists have gotten the results back from four scat samples collected near an elk carcass in early January in Moffat County. It’s official, the poop came from wolves.
The DNA found in the samples sent to the genetics lab indicated that three of the samples were from females wolves and one sample was from a male wolf. It also showed that the wolves were related, possibly as closely as full-sibling. A press release on the information indicated that this relation was a significant finding.
While only four samples were tested, pack numbers have been observed with up to six animals. Additional testing of samples collected on January 19 may give insight into the other animals that have been spotted.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife has requested that the public notify the agency if they see or hear wolves. A wolf sighting form found online makes this easy.
Though occasional sightings of wolves occur, a pack of wolves has not been reported in Colorado for decades. The species was eradicated around 1940 after aggressive decimation of their local population.
Several states along the Rocky Mountain range are home to sustainable wolf populations, including Wyoming, where hunting the gray wolf is legal under certain restrictions.
Killing wolves is still illegal in Colorado and can result in federal charges, including a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison, per offense.
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