Colorado now home to the first wild gray wolf pup litter in over 80 years
By Steven Bonifazi
(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.) A biologist and district wildlife manager from Colorado Parks and Wildlife have both reported seeing a multitude of gray wolf pups with wolves M2101 and F1084.
Staff from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) have recorded three separate sightings of pups in the state, according to a press release from CPW. These sightings come nearly two weeks after wildlife officials discovered that Wolf F1084, previously thought to be male, is actually a female wolf.
"Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s. We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado," said Governor Jared Polis. "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."
The three separate sightings of the den took place from June 4 through June 8, with each including collared wolves M2101 "John" and F1084 "Jane". It has yet to be determined whether or not the three pups are the only ones, as a typical litter of wolf pups is often four to six.
CPW staff will utilize their skill and equipment to make observations, as all three observations of the pups took place at dawn or dusk in low light. While the pups grow and spend time outside of the den, CPW staff and biologists will work with landowners in the area to put practices in place to minimize the potential for conflict.
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.”
CPW would like to remind people that killing a gray wolf in Colorado will result in a fine of $100,000 in addition to jail time and a loss of hunting privileges, as gray wolves are a state endangered species. Furthermore, harassing any wildlife in the state is also illegal.
“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.”
For more information regarding updated information on wolves in the Centennial State, click here.