Wolf sighting is ruled unsubstantiated
By Miles Blumhardt
Was it a wolf that Ron Greenwald saw just east of Fort Collins last week, or just a big coyote?
Or could it have been a wandering wolf hybrid?
Greenwald, who lives near Colorado Highway 14 and Larimer County Road 3, is sure he saw through binoculars on Tuesday a wolf on a ridge about 100 yards away from his house catching mice in a pasture with some cut corn.
Mark Leslie, Division of Wildlife area manager for the Fort Collins-Greeley area, isn’t so sure.
“I saw a wolf, but I guess I’m just a farm boy, and some people will say I saw a coyote or dog,’’ said the retired Greenwald, who worked for the U.S. Forest Service for 35 years and said he’s seen wolves in the wild in Wyoming. “I guess it could have been a wolf hybrid, but it wasn’t a coyote or dog.’’
Greenwald described the animal as the size of a good-sized dog mostly brown with some black and gray. Coyotes are mostly gray with some buff color and do not possess black coloring. Wolves are much larger than coyotes and usually are gray or black with some buff coloring.
Leslie talked to Greenwald after being informed by the Coloradoan of the sighting. After interviewing Greenwald, who did not have photos of the animal, and not finding any tracks or hair, Leslie said he has a lack of solid information that it actually was a wolf.
“The place where he saw the animal was an area with houses nearby, and that’s not typical wolf habitat,’’ said Leslie, who visited the site where Greenwald said he saw the animal. “I didn’t find anything. With nothing else to go on, the sighting is ruled unsubstantiated.’’
Wolves are classified as endangered in Colorado. The state’s wolf population was largely extirpated in the 1940s.
However, wandering wolves have made appearances from time to time in the state. Most recently, two wolves were spotted in Colorado in 2009. One died of poisoning in Eagle County.
Leslie said that’s the last confirmed sighting of wolves in Colorado of which he is aware. In February 2007, DOW wildlife managers captured brief video of what appeared to be a wolf north of Walden.