CPW: Wolf pack living in Colorado

Sky-Hi News staff report
A trail of wolf tracks observed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers earlier this year in Northwest Colorado.
Courtesy CPW

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has confirmed a group of wolves is living in northwest Colorado.

According to CPW, wildlife officers investigated an animal carcass surrounded by large wolf-like tracks Sunday in the northwest corner of Moffat County.

While conducting the investigation, officers heard distinct howls in the area. Using binoculars, they saw six wolves about two miles from the carcass.

After watching for about 20 minutes, the officers rode in to get a closer look. The wolves were gone, but the officers found plenty of large tracks. The tracks measured 4.5-5.5 inches and appeared to have been made by at least six animals.

The announcement from CPW comes as the state begins debating a ballot measure that, if approved, would reintroduce wolves in Colorado. Last week, Grand County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution stating the county’s opposition to reintroducing gray wolves in the Western Slope.

Part of the commissioners’ reasoning for opposing the plan noted that wolves have already been documented in Colorado because of the success of reintroduction programs in nearby states.

“As we have made clear, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will not take direct action in these cases,” said Dan Prenzlow, the agency’s director. “We have the leading experts on wildlife management and species recovery working for our agency, but while wolves remain federally protected, they are under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.”

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.

“This is a historic sighting,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. “While lone wolves have visited our state periodically including last fall, this is very likely the first pack to call our state home since the 1930s.”

Polis went on to point out that the gray wolf is under the protection of the Endangered Species Act and asked the public to give the wolves space. The public is urged to contact CPW and fill out a report if they find evidence of any wolf activity in Colorado.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.