Photo: This photo of a gray wolf wearing a tracking collar was taken by a private citizen over the weekend.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) are working to confirm two recent sightings of gray wolves in Colorado. The agency posted photos taken in Jackson County Colorado of a wolf wearing a tracking collar, and they say they’re investigating another possible sighting in Grand County.
Mike Phillips is a science advisor to the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project and one of the nation’s leading experts on wolf restoration. He also serves as a state Senator in Montana.
He told KBUT, “If gray wolves had a presence in Colorado, it would be well known by everybody. What CPW is reporting…is very consistent with what has happened over the last 10 or 15 years. On occasion, a lone wolf will wander into the state. One wolf does not a population make.”
Gray Wolves were once native to Colorado but were killed off sometime around 1940.
The Colorado Sun reports that Colorado is emerging as the last battleground for restoring wolf populations in the United States with restored populations in the Southwest, Northern Rockies and Great Lakes states.
Earlier this year, The Rocky Mountain Wolf Restoration Fund submitted a petition to have a ballot measure that would ask voters to re-introduce the gray wolf to Colorado’s Western Slope.
The ballot initiative will need more than 124,000 signatures by Dec. 13 to put the restoration of gray wolves before voters.
UPDATE from Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Wolf sighted in Jackson County confirmed to be from Wyoming’s Snake River pack
DENVER, Colo — The wolf recently sighted and photographed in Jackson County, Colorado was confirmed by Wyoming Game and Fish to be a dispersing male gray wolf from Wyoming. The collared wolf is from the Snake River pack and was last recorded by transmission signals on February 12 during routine telemetry flights around South Pass.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will monitor the area but is no longer actively pursuing the wolf’s location. CPW will remain in close communication with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Wildlife Services, Wyoming Game and Fish and local municipalities. Under the Endangered Species Act, harming, harassing, or killing a gray wolf other than in cases of self-defense is unlawful.