Miles Blumhardt, Fort Collins Coloradoan
One day after enough valid signatures were confirmed to place a measure on next year’s ballot to reintroduce wolves, Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed a likely wolf pack in the state.
CPW said an eyewitness reported six large canids — a term that can describe wolves, jackals, foxes, coyote and domestic dogs — traveling together plus a scavenged elk a few miles from the sighting in northwest Colorado ”strongly suggests a pack of gray wolves may now be residing in Colorado.”
“The sighting marks the first time in recent history CPW has received a report of multiple wolves traveling together,” CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke said in a Wednesday release.
Romatzke said in the days prior to the late October sighting in Moffat County, the eyewitness reported hearing “distinct howls coming from different animals. In my opinion, this is a very credible report.”
The eyewitness said his hunting party observed the wolves near the state’s Wyoming and Utah borders. One of the party caught two of the six animals on video.
After learning of the scavenged elk carcass, CPW initiated an investigation. At the kill site, officers observed several large canid tracks from multiple animals that are consistent with those made by wolves. The condition of the elk carcass was consistent with known wolf predation, according to CPW.
“The latest sightings add to other credible reports of wolf activity in Colorado over the past several years,” Romatzke said. “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.”
Romatzke said the most recent sighting of what appears to be wolves traveling together is what can be best described as a pack and is further evidence of the presence of wolves in Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund is leading the initiative campaign.
Romatzke said CPW will continue to operate under the agency’s current management direction, which is to not take direct action. Wolves in Colorado are federally endangered species and fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The public is urged to contact CPW immediately if they see or hear wolves or find evidence of any wolf activity. The Wolf Sighting Form can be found on at https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/SOC-Wolves.aspx.