Wolf pack roaming Colorado for first time in recent history

File photo. Photo Credit: hkuchera (iStock).

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has stated that a wolf pack is likely roaming Colorado for the first time in recent history.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since the initial publishing of this piece, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Southwest has deleted their initial Tweet [11:00 AM MT] that stated “Wolf pack confirmed in northwest corner of Colorado” (initial tweet shown at the bottom of this piece), replacing it with a Tweet [1:23 PM MT] that states “Wolf pack likely present in Northwest Colorado.” That being said, the Craig Daily Press is reporting that CPW Public Information Officer Mike Porras has confirmed that the tracks found were from wolves.

In October, multiple eyewitness reported six large canids traveling through the northwest corner of the state together. This was followed by the discovery of a scavenged elk carcass last week near Irish Canyon, which is located outside of Dinosaur National Monument. The consumption of the carcass was consistent with gray wolf behavior and canid tracks were found at the scene.

One of the eyewitnesses of the wolves published a video of two of the animals that was allegedly shot near the Utah and Wyoming borders. Two alleged wolves were caught on camera.

According to CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke, “the sighting marks the first time in recent history CPW has received a report of multiple wolves traveling together.”

In addition to the sightings and the elk carcass, reports have been made of howling in the same area.

According to Romantzke, “in addition to tracks, howls, photos and videos, the presence of one wolf was confirmed by DNA testing a few years ago, and in a recent case, we have photos and continue to track a wolf with a collar from Wyoming’s Snake River pack.”

RELATED: Learn about the history of wolves and wolf reintroduction on the Sept. 3 episode of the OutThere Colorado Podcast ( Apple, Google Play)

“It is inevitable, based on known wolf behavior, that they would travel here from states where their populations are well-established,” Romantzke said. “We have no doubt that they are here, and the most recent sighting of what appears to be wolves traveling together in what can be best described as a pack is further evidence of the presence of wolves in Colorado.”

No immediate action will be taken by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, though it has been requested that sightings, evidence, or noises of wolves are reported here.

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 with some restrictions.

In much of Wyoming, the gray wolf is considered a “predatory animal,” including land bordering Colorado. According to the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, “predatory animals and predacious birds may be taken without a license” in non-protected areas of the state, making it easier for hunters to kill the species. This has traditionally made it difficult for the animal’s range to expand southward.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public “that wolves are federally endangered species and fall under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.”

According to Romatzke of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, “as wolves move into the state on their own, we will work with our federal partners to manage the species.”

It was recently announced that wolf reintroduction would be on the 2020 ballot in Colorado. Find more information about that heated debate here.

Editor’s Note: Since the initial publishing of this piece, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Southwest has deleted their initial Tweet [11:00 AM MT] that stated “Wolf pack confirmed in northwest corner of Colorado,” replacing it with a Tweet [1:23 PM MT] that states “Wolf pack likely present in Northwest Colorado.” That being said, the Craig Daily Press is reporting that CPW Public Information Officer Mike Porras has confirmed that the tracks found were from wolves. Below you’ll find the initial tweet sent out by Colorado Parks and Wildlife Southwest, as well as the latest tweet. 

RELATED: Learn about the history of wolves and wolf reintroduction on the Sept. 3 episode of the OutThere Colorado Podcast ( Apple, Google Play)

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