DENVER, COLORADO – In an unprecedented move, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has unveiled a new Collared Gray Wolf Activity Map, offering insights into the movements of the recently reintroduced gray wolves in Colorado. This tool aims to educate the public, assist recreationists, and support livestock producers by providing monthly updates on wolf locations.
The map, updated every fourth Wednesday of the month, reflects GPS collar data from all 12 collared wolves in the state, including the ten reintroduced from Oregon and two already residing in North Park. The GPS collars, which record positions every four hours and transmit the data in packets to CPW biologists, provide valuable information on the wolves’ past locations. However, it’s important to note that this data doesn’t indicate the current whereabouts of the wolves or predict their future movements.
To safeguard the wolves, CPW will not disclose specific GPS data. Instead, the map illustrates the watersheds where the wolves have been active in the past month. These watersheds, defined as geographic units draining into specific water bodies, offer a balance between providing useful information and protecting the wolves. The map’s granularity at the HUC 10 level (Hydrologic Unit Codes) ensures that it is detailed enough to be informative without compromising individual wolf welfare.
This innovative approach marks a significant step in wildlife management and conservation. CPW emphasizes that the map should not be interpreted as an exhaustive representation of wolf presence in Colorado. As the wolf population grows through natural reproduction and immigration, the proportion of collared wolves will decrease, potentially affecting the map’s accuracy over time.
The release of the wolf activity map comes as CPW faces criticism from state lawmakers over problems and a lack of transparency during the first round of wolf releases last month.
During a Joint Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources, Senator Dylan Roberts asked CPW officials if they purposefully withheld information about the wolves’ release from mountain communities, including Grand County.
CPW staff said they notified Grand County commissioners during meetings outside of the county. However, they were not directly notified on the specific release day.
Both Senator Roberts and CPW representatives, including Director Jeff Davis, agreed that the agency has lost significant trust through mistakes, including the decision to reintroduce wolves with a history of livestock depredation. The agency committed to working to regain the trust of the public and complete an after-action agency review to inform their efforts moving forward.
To learn more about wolf reintroduction in Colorado, visit the facts and information page on the CPW website here.