3 Colorado Wolves Shot at Wyoming Border


Holly Kuchera/Stock image

Victoria Foster, Staff Writer

Three black sub-adult female wolves are reported to have been killed across the border of Wyoming and Colorado. While unconfirmed, it’s believed that these wolves are the same Jackson Country pups first born in Colorado in the past 80 years.

The reports containing age and color of the dead wolves closely match those of young pack members in the North Park pack. If their identities are confirmed, more wolves will need to be introduced to the wild population in order to replace their numbers.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has announced their plan to release 8 to 10 wolves each year over a three-to-four-year period after Colorado voters narrowly approved a ballot initiative to have wolves reintroduced to the state by the end of 2023. However, with wolves being notorious for wandering outside of their protection lines, the initiative could become difficult to moderate.

Penalties for killing a wolf in Colorado can include fines of up to $100,000 and up to a year in prison. However, Wyoming wolves are only protected within national parks. Throughout the rest of the state, they may be killed without permit or bag limit.

The overall wolf population in the United States has very slowly increased over recent years thanks to conservation efforts such as this one, but as of February 10, 2022, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has considered them protected under the Endangered Species Act. It’s important to remember that while these conservation efforts are important, they do not apply to every state’s ecosystem.

CPW is currently investigating the reports and have yet to comment on the situation. To follow USFWS’s updates on gray wolves and their population recovery, visit their site here.