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    Colorado wolf map shows increased activity near Wyoming border, Frisco, Dillon and Vail

    By Miles Blumhardt, Fort Collins Coloradoan,

    2024-05-24

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3HsOSq_0tLMIDZ000

    There are signs that some of Colorado's released wolves are moving closer to the Wyoming border, according to the state's recently released wolf activity map, and a rancher who lives near the border and has seen the released wolves in recent days.

    Wolf movement has substantially increased in Routt County, including in proximity to the Wyoming state line, according to Colorado's wolf activity map for May released May 22.

    Jackson County rancher Don Gittleson said Colorado Parks and Wildlife has confirmed to area ranchers that two released wolves captured in Oregon were near their ranches in recent days.

    Gittleson also had an image from the morning of May 23 that showed what he said was of the older male from the North Park pack. He reported the sighting to Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife tracks wolves that were fitted with GPS collars. Nine of those collars are on released wolves from Oregon, and two are on the remaining known members of the North Park pack.

    Why wolf movement in north Routt and Jackson counties could spell trouble for Colorado's wolves

    For the first time since the maps were released by Colorado Parks and Wildlife in January, wolf movement has been detected in watersheds in northern Routt County that abut Wyoming north of Steamboat Springs.

    Wolf activity was only previously present along the Wyoming border in Larimer and Jackson counties, according to the maps. It is unknown how close to the border the wolves actually moved because that information is not made publicly available by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for the protection of the wolves.

    The wolf activity map is broken down by watersheds, which can be large. If a wolf collar indicates a wolf or wolves were, or are, in that watershed, the entire watershed is marked as having wolves in it at some point in the last month. It does not necessarily mean a wolf or wolves are currently in those areas.

    Wyoming allows for the killing of wolves year-round in 85% of the state, including its border with Colorado.

    Several wolves from Colorado have been legally shot in Wyoming over the past several years, raising concerns from wolf advocates and Colorado Parks and Wildlife that if the collared wolves wander into the Cowboy State, they could face a similar fate.

    Eric Odell, Colorado Parks and Wildlife's species conservation program manager who is overseeing the state's wolf reintroduction effort, previously told the Coloradoan, "If our released wolves go north into Wyoming, they will do what they do and there is no plan to recapture those wolves."

    He added the agency will take no action to prevent the wolves from moving into Wyoming.

    Unlike with Wyoming, Colorado has recapture agreements of collared wolves with Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

    Here are other movements detected in the May wolf activity map

    There was a significant retraction of wolf movement in Larimer County in the May map.

    That is likely due to the first death of a released wolf , 2302-OR, which was found dead in northern Larimer County on April 18. A necropsy showed the male wolf likely died from a mountain lion attack.

    The latest map shows movement of collared wolves in Larimer County covered about the western one-third, compared to three-fourths of the county in April.

    The May map also showed a slight retraction of movement in Moffat County, and slight increase in movement in the watershed that spills over Interstate 70 around Frisco, Dillon and Vail.

    The latest map also continues to show wolf movement in the watersheds in the vicinity of Rocky Mountain National Park.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife stated in the May 22 map release that two of the 10 collars placed on wolves captured in northeast Oregon and released in Grand and Summit counties in late December are no longer providing signals to biologists.

    The agency said the animals with the failed collars are traveling with other animals with functional collars, allowing the agency to monitor those animals.

    Here is how Colorado's collared wolves have fared over the past month

    There are no reports from Colorado Parks and Wildlife that the two released wolves known to have denned have had pups.

    If successful, those pups could become visible in late May or early June.

    Ranchers in the Kremmling area of Grand County said they have consistently seen released wolves, a male and female, frequent their ranches. That pair is occasionally joined by a third female.

    Two of those are the ones to have denned, according to the ranchers.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife does not identify wolf movements for the protection of the animals.

    Ranchers also said evidence shows the denning pair has been responsible for numerous depredations on cattle in the area.

    There have been no confirmed wolf depredations of livestock by collared wolves since May 11.

    But nine confirmed wolf kills of cattle took place in Grand and Jackson counties between April 2 and May 11. Six of those depredations occurred on the same Grand County ranch .

    There were no additional confirmed deaths than the one reported in Larimer County among the 11 remaining collared wolves, according to the state wildlife agency.

    Here is a list of confirmed wolf depredations in Colorado

    The below data was provided by Colorado Parks and Wildlife as of May 22, 2024.

    There have been 28 confirmed wolf depredations of livestock since December 2021. Total paid out for compensation is $41,406.95, with nine compensation payments pending.

    Depredations include injury or death to livestock, including working cattle dogs, and compensation is paid for both:

    2024

    • May 11: 1 yearling cattle. Grand County. Compensation payment pending.
    • April 28: 1 calf. Grand County. Compensation payment pending.
    • April 18: 1 yearling cattle. Grand County. Compensation payment pending.
    • April 17: 3 yearling cattle. Grand County. Compensation payment pending
    • April 13: 1 calf. Jackson County. Compensation payment pending
    • April 7: 1 calf. Jackson County. $1,514.00 paid.
    • April 2: 1 calf. Grand County. Compensation payment pending

    Total: 9 depredations, $1,514 paid, eight compensation payments pending.

    2023

    • Dec. 13: 1 calf, Jackson County. Compensation payment pending
    • Nov. 17: 3 sheep. Jackson County. $489 paid.
    • March 13: 1 working cattle dog. Jackson County. $15,000

    Total: 5 depredations, $15,489 paid, one compensation payment pending

    2022

    • Nov. 19: 1 calf. Jackson County. $1,106.09 paid.
    • Oct. 8: 1 calf. Jackson County. $338.62 paid.
    • Oct. 7: 1 calf. Jackson County. $400 paid.
    • Aug. 1: 1 calf: Jackson County. $3,000 paid.
    • May 30: 1 calf. Jackson County. $3,000 paid.
    • May 2: 1 calf. Jackson County. $2,850 paid.
    • April 22: 1 calf. Jackson County. $779.52 paid.
    • March 15: 2 cattle. Jackson County. $1,230 paid.
    • Jan. 18: 3 cattle. Jackson County. $8,647 paid.
    • Jan. 9: 2 working cattle dogs. Jackson County. $1,252.72 paid.
    • Total: 13 depredations, $22,603.95 paid.

    2021

    • Dec. 19: 1 calf. Jackson County. $1,800 paid.

    This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Colorado wolf map shows increased activity near Wyoming border, Frisco, Dillon and Vail

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