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Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction

CPW Secures Source for Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction in December

DENVER, CO – In an important move to restore native ecology, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced a one-year agreement today to translocate up to 10 gray wolves from Oregon to Colorado. The effort will take place between December 2023 and March 2024 and aims to meet a voter-approved deadline of reintroducing wolves into Colorado by December 31, 2023.

The Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, approved by the CPW Commission in May, has paved the way for the safe reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado’s Western Slope. The process involved extensive stakeholder engagement, public consultations, and the collection of feedback from more than 3,400 Coloradans.

“In line with the voter-mandated deadline, CPW has worked diligently to create a plan for wolf reintroduction that has received unanimous support from the CPW Commission,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “The partnership with Oregon is an essential milestone, bringing us a step closer to achieving the will of Colorado voters.”

CPW Director Jeff Davis expressed gratitude to the ODFW for aiding Colorado in this critical conservation effort. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Curt Melcher mentioned that the wolves will be sourced from northeast Oregon, where their removal will not impact local conservation efforts. “Oregon has a rich history of helping other states achieve their conservation goals through animal translocation. This collaboration is a continuation of that legacy,” said Melcher.

CPW will initiate the capture of wolves this December with logistical support from ODFW. The operation will involve contracted helicopter crews and spotter planes, and the animals will be tested and treated for diseases at the source site. Wolves will be tagged with collars and physically measured before being transported to Colorado, either by truck or airplane. Only wolves in good health, not involved in repeated depredations, will be selected for reintroduction.

“CPW aims for a balanced mix of male and female wolves, primarily between the ages of 1 to 5, to facilitate natural dispersal once released,” said CPW Wolf Conservation Program Manager Eric Odell.

Minimizing Negative Wildlife Interactions

As Colorado prepares for the reintroduction of gray wolves, it’s essential for the public to be informed on how to live safely and harmoniously with these creatures. Here are some tips:

  1. Keep a Safe Distance: Always maintain a safe distance from wolves to avoid startling or provoking them.

  2. Secure Livestock and Pets: Install predator-proof fences and enclosures to protect livestock and pets.

  3. Store Food Properly: Keep food and waste in bear-resistant containers to prevent attracting wolves to human-inhabited areas.

  4. Educate and Inform: Share information about the natural behaviors and benefits of wolves to the ecosystem to help cultivate a harmonious coexistence.

  5. Report Sightings and Incidents: If you encounter a wolf or witness suspicious activities involving wolves, report them to CPW to aid in their management efforts.

For more updates on this initiative, visit CPW’s Stay Informed page and sign up for the Wolf Reintroduction eNews.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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