Grey wolf population in colorado

Meanwhile, wolf supporters celebrated what they saw as the start of a wildlife management shift away from prioritizing hunting and agricultural interests toward a holistic re-balancing of ecosystems by restoring a predator. Proposition directs CPW to develop a plan and reintroduce an undetermined number of gray wolves, enough to ensure wolf survival, by the end of on former habitat in the state west of the Continental Divide.

Uncounted votes remained in pro-wolf Denver and Boulders. The election results demonstrate that nearly half of Coloradans agree with us. We hope these election results show proponents, lawmakers and Colorado Parks and Wildlife that next steps must be taken in a measured, responsible way. The voters of Colorado should be proud. This marks the first time voters in a state have directed state officials to reintroduce a wildlife species on former habitat.

Gray wolves expected to re-establish themselves in Colorado

Nobody has officially proposed numbers. The law requires reliance on the best science and enough wolves to ensure a sustainable population. Wolves are to be released on designated public land west of the Continental Divide. CPW officials this year confirmed the presence of a small pack in northwestern Colorado.

Federal officials last week lifted endangered species protection, declaring the gray wolf recovered, an Endangered Species Act success story along with the bald eagle. By Bruce Finley bfinley denverpost. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.News News.

Due to recent reintroduction of the northern gray wolf in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, Colorado could see the migration of the large animal for the first time since the s, state wildlife officials said. Ranging in population across North America from the Arctic to Mexico and from coast to coast, the last known gray wolves in Colorado were killed by about That led to wolves in Colorado being eradicated by shooting, trapping and poisoning.

Growing to as big as 5 feet long, with bushy tails as long as 14 inches, the gray wolf resembles a large dog and can be mistaken for a coyote. According to a press release from Porras, CPW wildlife managers traverse the state each year by land and air to classify big game, but none have observed wolf packs, dens or any other evidence wolves have established a population Colorado.

Whether you are a trapper, or an elk hunter, deer hunter, coyote hunter or a landowner protecting livestock from predators, you must be sure of your target before you take any animal. While wolves can be a dangerous predatory to livestock, killing a wolf is an illegal taking of a species that is protected by the Endangered Species Act in Colorado. According to the U. The CPW said various incidents over the past several years confirm that wolves occasionally visit northern Colorado, including a wolf killed in a vehicle collision on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs in Three years later, two CPW wildlife officers captured video of an animal with strong wolf-like characteristics along the Colorado-Wyoming border, a few miles north of Walden.

Ina radio-collared gray wolf was found dead north of Rifle, and in Aprila trailcam, again near Walden, captured photos of an animal that appears to be a wolf. The unconfirmed sighting is considered credible. Also in Aprila hunter mistakenly killed what he thought was a coyote near Wolford Mountain Reservoir, north of Kremmling. Following an investigation by the U. Fish and Wildlife Service, agency biologists positively identified the animal as a gray wolf.

Outside of confirmed and unconfirmed visual sightings of wolves in the state over the last decade, there has been multiple reports of scat and tracks resembling wolves, as well as reports of howling in numerous areas of the state. The main concern — which might not be the right word choice, according to Porras — for wolves migrating back into the state comes from farmers with livestock that could be attacked by said wolves.

If something were to happen to their livestock, CPW would be obligated to compensate for those losses. We want to make that clear to them. Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund, told the Summit Daily that wolves pose no noteworthy hazard to the livestock industry, and that the killing of farm animals is the rare exception, and techniques already exist to help offset potential issues on private land to responsibly recolonize the state.

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Support Local Journalism Donate. Donate For tax deductible donations, click here. Glenwood Springs High School varsity girls basketball team plays in the moment.Colorado voters soon will have the unique opportunity to help decide the fate of an entire species. A question on whether to reintroduce the gray wolf, a species widely eradicated in the western United States in the s, has been added to the ballot.

The gray wolf, or Canis lupis, once roamed freely throughout much of the U. Fish and Wildlife Service. The last gray wolf native to Colorado was killed inat the end of a year campaign spearheaded by the federal government on behalf of the livestock industry, said Rob Edward, president of the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fundthe leading campaign in support of reintroducing the species to the state.

Prior to that period, the gray wolf was a "keystone species" in the West, according to the organization. Scientific data shows that wolves are "critical components" of the ecosystem and that their absence has negative consequences, Edward told ABC News.

Western Colorado, the area west of the Rocky Mountains where the reintroduction of the gray wolf has been proposed, is home to the largest elk and deer population in the U. However, in places like Rock Mountain National Park, the animals are sedentary and browse all of the vegetation "down to the ground," which leads to erosion from rivers and streams and the disruption of other habitats.

This is largely because their biggest predators -- wolves -- are not causing the populations to move locations, Edward said.

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Colorado is a "fine place for wolves to be" due to the habitat and plenty of "good prey," John Vucetich, a professor of wildlife ecology for Michigan Technological University, told ABC News. In addition, wolves limit the spread of disease, such as Chronic Wasting Disease, by eliminating vulnerable animals from the population, according to the organization. The Stop the Wolf Coalition, the leading organization opposing the initiative in Colorado, believes that reintroducing wolves to the state will actually lead to "unknown consequences" in spreading Chronic Wasting Disease because of the species' ability to travel vast distances, according to its website.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers spot wolf pack in Moffat County

The coalition also believes that conflicts between humans and wolves is "inevitable" and that attacks on pets will increase due to a shrinking habitat. However, Edward stated that data from the reintroduction of the species to the Northern Rock Mountains shows that A representative from the coalition did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

grey wolf population in colorado

This shows that the initiative has public support, Edward said, and Vucetich said he believes people's attitudes toward wolves are "sufficiently positive" and that the species and Colorado residents would "coexist just fine. The measure would require the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to create a plan to reintroduce and manage the species on designated lands west of the continental divide by the end of It would also prohibit the commission from imposing restrictions on land, water or resources on private landowners for the plan and require state government to "fairly compensate" owners for losses of livestock caused by the wolves.

If approved by voters, the measure will take effect within 30 days after the vote is completed. It could be the first time in U. Inthe Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission stated that it supported the presence of wolves in Colorado but via natural migration, rather than reintroduction.

The commission also urged that the wolves be allowed to live with "non-boundaries" where they find habitat and that they be left "wherever found," provided they are not causing problems.

In addition, the commission recommended that conflicts with wolves be resolved using non-lethal methods and that funding for the wolves come from sources other than sales of hunting licenses. Even if Colorado residents vote to reintroduce the gray wolf, the state will not have control over its future unless the species is removed from the federal Endangered Species Act in Colorado.

In Marchthe Trump administration proposed to remove the gray wolf from its list of endangered and threatened wildlife and is expected to make a determination by March of this year. If the wolf is de-listed, reintroducing the species would still be a long-term process on how to proceed, which could include a period of public comment, Rebecca Ferrell, a public information officer with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told KMGH last month. If the FWS does not remove the gray wolf from the endangered list, state legislature would have to give the CPW approval to begin reintroducing the wolf, Ferrell said.

Two months after the Department of the Interior announced the proposal to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list, more than scientists signed an open letter objecting to the proposal. Vucetich and Michael Nelson, a professor of environmental ethics and philosophy at Oregon State University, both of whom signed the letterargue that wolves do not yet meet the standard for removing them from the Endangered Species Act. Wolves have been federally protected since they were added to the Endangered Species Act inwhich prompted the re-introduction of wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming as well as the Great Lakes and SouthwestEdward said.

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Gray wolves historically had the greatest natural range of living terrestrial mammals, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Today, they are distributed to the open tundra and forests primarily in Alaska, Canada and the northern U. However, when the proposal to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species act was made last year, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, a Colorado native, said the species " no longer meets the definition" of a threatened species.That delisting handed over management of wolves in Colorado from the U.

Fish and Wildlife Service to the state.

Joe Rogan and Cameron Hanes on Wolves in Colorado

Indeed, two coalitions of advocacy groups asked the U. Colorado voters narrowly approved Proposition in November. It requires the reintroduction of the gray wolf, which was hunted, trapped and poisoned into extermination here in the s, be underway by Dec. The measure passed thanks to votes from the highly urbanized areas that line the Denver-Fort Collins-Colorado Springs metropolitan area. Advocates see reintroduction in Colorado as a vital step in restoring the wolf to habitat stretching from the Canadian to the Mexican border.

Wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies in the s. About 2, wolves are in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Northern California, and Colorado officials are consulting those states in its own planning, said Eric Odell, species conservative program manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

A remnant population in the western Great Lakes region has since expanded to about 4, wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. A small population of Mexican gray wolves remains protected in the Southwest. Opponents of the initiative said that shows wolves already are in Colorado and that reintroducing them is unnecessary. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has urged Colorado Parks and Wildlife to quickly implement the initiative.

Thursday, January 28, By spring or summer, state wildlife officials will start identifying donor populations and locations for reintroduction; slowly begin development of a management plan; and create procedures for settling claims by ranchers, farmers and others who lose livestock to or have property damaged by wolves.

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grey wolf population in colorado

By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Featured Realtor. Related Stories Groups ask court to restore protections for U. Gray wolves delisted, remain protected in Oregon, Washington Northwest January 7, Comments Please take a second to review our community guidelines Community guidelines.There has been an increase in reports of wolves in Colorado recently and several confirmed sightings over the past several years, officials said.

CPW issued a statement Monday reminding people that gray wolves are still protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. A hunter mistakenly killed what he thought was a coyote a few miles north of Kremling in April The public is urged to report any sighting of wolves in Colorado by filling out the online Wolf Sighting Form.

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Skip to content. This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated. Close Modal Suggest a Correction Your name required. Your email required. Report a typo or grammatical error required. Read the Full Article. King Soopers acknowledges mistake turning vaccine-eligible Coloradans away based on residency. More Home Page Top Stories.Though Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently announced that a likely wolf pack had been confirmed in the state following a late October sighting in Moffat County in northwestern Colorado, the agency now has further evidence bolstering wolves' return to Colorado.

Wildlife officers spotted about six wolves Jan. During the investigation, the officers "were surprised when they heard distinct howls within the area," according to the release. By the time they got to where they had seen the wolves, they were gone, but the officers found large tracks — measuring about 4.

The natural return of wolves comes as Colorado voters get ready to decide whether to direct the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to devise a plan to introduce wolves on public land west of the Continental Divide before Previous coverage: Wolf reintroduction group submitssignatures in support of adding issue to ballot.

November election: Initiative to introduce gray wolves makes Colorado ballot. Details of the reintroduction are left to be ironed out by the state. Opponents of the ballot measure include Colorado ranchers and sportsmen organizations.

One rancher previously told the Coloradoan he doesn't oppose a natural return of wolves to the state. More: Colorado's top weather stories of the decade — fatal fires, floods, and the bomb cyclone.

The Jan. 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," Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a January announcement of the sighting, which was believed to be the first report in recent history of multiple wolves traveling together. Killing them can result in federal charges.

Fish and Wildlife Service. More: Don't break up with wildlife, just give it some space, CSU campaign pleads. Sarah Kyle Fort Collins Coloradoan. It's official: Wolves are back in Colorado.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the officers' sighting "historic.Contact your local county Extension office through our County Office List.

Print this information sheet. The gray wolf is native to Colorado. During the latter half of the s, hunters decimated wolf prey such as bison, elk, and deer. By the early s, less than elk remained in Colorado 3compared to over a quarter million elk today. It is possible, if not likely, that other wolves have made their way into Colorado and have not been observed.

More recently, a lone wolf was confirmed in north-central Colorado near Walden in July In Januarya group of up to 6 wolves was confirmed in Moffat County in northwest Colorado. It is uncertain if they will stay in Colorado.

The federal law protecting wolves is the U. For endangered species, federal law takes precedence over state law. Thus, wolves that arrive in Colorado are under the management authority of the U. Although wolves were eliminated from the state in the s, Colorado still retains suitable habitat for wolves. In the western United States, the best habitat for wolves is on public lands where both these needs are met see Wolf Taxonomy and Biology Information Sheet.

Prey abundance is one of the best predictors of where wolves can live, and Colorado supports a sufficient prey base for wolves. As such, elk and mule deer would be the primary prey. Overmule deer live in the state.

Colorado also has over 24 million acres of public lands, mostly federally owned. This includes over 3. Multiple scientific studies have concluded that Colorado can sustain a population of wolves. Ultimately, people will determine where wolves can live.

Today, they inhabit parts of North America, Europe, and Asia. As long as people tolerate them, wolves can persist in regions with many people. As another comparison, over 11, wolves now live in Europe, including near large cities. This is about twice as many wolves as the wolves that now live in the lower 48 U. The best habitat for wolves in Colorado would be public lands where there is abundant prey and open space and less potential for conflict with people.

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In some areas, wolf prey like elk and deer seasonally migrate to lower elevations during winter. This includes private lands in valley bottoms, which can be productive 21 and a refuge from hunting and thus attractive to wildlife. Conversely, grazing of livestock on public land where wolves reside would also increase the risk of conflict.

An important conservation goal for endangered species is that they recover to form a self-sustaining and viable population. The wolves currently in northern Colorado — a single group of six wolves and another lone wolf — are not a sustainable viable population over the long-term.

grey wolf population in colorado

These wolves are at risk. They might be killed or disappear, as has happened to other wolves that have migrated to Colorado.

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