While wolves haven't been formally reintroduced to Colorado, fresh tracks, howls, and fur recently found continues to suggest that the species is already roaming in the northwest corner of the state.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed the presence of wild wolves in Moffat County once again following recent trail photographs and recordings of howling. Wolf tracks and fur have also been discovered throughout the summer months and into mid-November.
“These photos are a rare glimpse into the lives of Colorado’s few wolves,” stated Karin Vardaman, manager of the Working Circle, a coexistence-focused initiative led by Defenders of Wildlife. Vardaman continued, “monitoring these wolves is crucial to understanding their patterns of behavior so we can help prevent human-wildlife conflict and better protect them.”
CPW says wildlife officers will continue to monitor the area and share updates as they become available.
Six wolves were first spotted roaming Moffat County together in October of 2019, followed by an official confirmation from CPW in January 2020. Wolf sightings have also been documented in other areas such as North Park and Laramie River Valley.
Colorado Proposition 114 passed earlier in November, calling for Colorado Parks and Wildlife to officially start developing a plan for the restoration and management of gray wolves by December, 31, 2023, on designated lands west of the Continental Divide.
“Gray wolves remain listed as a state endangered species, and killing a wolf in Colorado for any reason other than self-defense remains illegal,” reminded Dan Prenzlow, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, killing a wolf can result in federal charges, including a $100,000 fine and a year in prison, per offense.
Anyone who sees or hears wolves or finds evidence suggesting wolf activity in the state of Colorado is asked to contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife immediately and file a report online.