Three grey wolf pups were discovered in northern Colorado over the past week, marking the first born litter in the state in since the 1940s.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife made the announcement on Wednesday confirming multiple sightings of three gray wolf pups from collard wolves M2101 “John” and F1084 “Jane.
According to officials, it's unclear if there are any other pups in the litter. Each wolf litter typically consists of four to six pups.
“Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s. We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado. With voter passage last year of the initiative to require re-introduction of the wolf by the end of 2023, these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families,” said Governor Jared Polis.
A Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) biologist and CPW district wildlife manager discovered the pups after conducting three separate observations of the den site between June 4-8. The sightings were captured at both dawn and dusk in low light conditions about two miles away.
“We are continuing to actively monitor this den site while exercising extreme caution so as not to inadvertently jeopardize the potential survival of these pups,” said Libbie Miller, CPW wildlife biologist. “Our hope is that we will eventually have photos to document this momentous occasion in Colorado's incredible and diverse wildlife history, but not bothering them remains a paramount concern.”
Biologists and area staff will continue to make observations as the pups grow larger and spend more time outside of the den. CPW is working with the landowners in the area to implement practices to minimize the potential for conflict.
“It’s incredible that these two adult animals have traveled the distance and overcome the challenges they have to get here, and to now have pups in Colorado,” said Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager for CPW. “It’s our priority to ensure that they have the chance to thrive, so even as we have exciting news, we want to remind everyone that these animals remain endangered in Colorado.”
As a state endangered species, killing a gray wolf in Colorado can result in a fine of $100,000, jail time, and the loss of hunting privileges. Harassment of wildlife is also illegal in the state.
For more information on how to stay informed about wolves in Colorado, please visit cpw.state.co.us.
Editor's Note: It was announced that there were potentially pups in Colorado in late May after one wolf that had been mistaken for a male was determined to be a female.