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CPW Wolf Updates: March 25 - April 24

The updated wolf map overlaid on last month's map(difference shown in light purple), displays a movement from the wolves out of Rio Blanco County from last month and stretching further into Larimer County.
Maps courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, overlay and adjustment by Hattison Rensberry
The updated wolf map overlaid on last month's map(difference shown in light purple), displays a movement from the wolves out of Rio Blanco County from last month and stretching further into Larimer County.

Reintroduced gray wolves have been confirmed in watersheds east of the Continental Divide and onto the Front Range, according to CPW’s updated collared wolf activity map, which also shows that wolf presence in western Rio Blanco county may have declined.

The map is created monthly using GPS data from all functioning collars in the state. Two of the ten collars are no longer providing signals, including a collar that failed in March and one that was partially functioning last month but has since failed. The animals with the failed collars are apparently traveling with functionally-collared wolves, which allows CPW to monitor their wanderings. The agency reports that those animals are alive based on visual confirmation from the air.

One reintroduced wolf, however, was found dead on April 18 in Larimer County. CPW reports that the US Fish and WIldlife Service has launched an investigation into the death, including a necropsy of the wolf carcass. Initial evidence suggests that the wolf died of natural causes but final determination remains unknown.

The map shows activity in watersheds over the past 28 days. But, just because a wolf entered a watershed doesn’t mean that the animal is present throughout the entire watershed or that it is still there. Data from the collars show where wolves have been, not where they are or where they will go. CPW expects the accuracy of future maps to eventually decline due to wolves coming in from other states, collar failure or loss, and natural wolf reproduction. The agency hopes to maintain at least two collars per wolf pack.

New website

CPW’s new website documents wolf depredation in the state, dating back to December, 2021. The website includes the date of depredation, the county in which it occurred, the number of livestock killed, whether claims have been submitted and compensation amounts. CPW updates the website as new information comes in. As of April 24, information includes events that occurred last month in Grand and Jackson counties. Travis Duncan, CPW public information officer, told KDNK that no wolves have been killed as a result of the depredations.

CPW is also working with the state Department of Agriculture to provide range riders for livestock owners as a non-lethal predation prevention method. You can find more information about gray wolvesby clicking here.

Amy Hadden Marsh’s reporting goes back to 1990 and includes magazine, radio, newspaper and online work. She has previously served as reporter and news director for KDNK Community Radio, earning Edward R. Murrow and Colorado Broadcasters Association awards for her work. She also writes for Aspen Journalism and received a Society of Professional Journalists’ Top of the Rockies award in 2023 for a story on the Uinta Basin Railway. Her photography has also won awards. She holds a Masters in Investigative Journalism from Regis University.