In a one-year agreement announced today between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon will be a source for up to 10 wolves for the Colorado gray wolf reintroduction effort. These wolves will be captured and translocated between December 2023 and March 2024.
The CPW Commission approved the final Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan in May, clearing the way for CPW biologists to introduce gray wolves in the Western Slope area and meet the voter-approved deadline of reintroduction by December 31, 2023.
“In 2020, Colorado voted to reintroduce wolves to our great state by the end of 2023. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and our administration have worked tirelessly to safely reintroduce wolves consistent with that voter-mandated deadline. To that end we have met with many stakeholders, held public meetings, and collected feedback from more than 3,400 Coloradans. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously in support of the wolf reintroduction plan. We are deeply grateful for Oregon’s partnership in this endeavor, and we are now one step closer to fulfilling the will of the voters in time,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.
“We are grateful to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for working with our agency on this critical next step in reintroducing gray wolves in the state,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “This agreement will help ensure Colorado Parks and Wildlife can meet its statutory mandate to begin releasing wolves in Colorado by December 31, 2023.”
“Oregon has a long history of helping other states meet their conservation goals by providing animals for translocation efforts. Some of our wildlife populations were also restored thanks to other states doing the same for us, including Rocky Mountain elk, bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Curt Melcher. “The wolves will come from northeast Oregon, where wolves are most abundant in the state and where removal of 10 wolves will not impact any conservation goals.”
CPW will begin capture operations this December, with ODFW providing some assistance by sharing wolf location information and best practices for wolf capture. CPW will be responsible for all costs associated with capture and transport of wolves.
- CPW staff will work with contracted helicopter crews and spotter planes to capture wolves
- Wolves will be tested and treated for disease at the source sites
- Collars will be placed on wolves and physical measurements will be done in the field in Oregon
- Wolves will be crated in sturdy aluminum crates and transported to Colorado either by truck or airplane
Animals with major injuries – things like having several broken canines, missing eyes, fractured or missing limbs, mange or lice infection – will not be chosen for reintroduction. CPW will make efforts to transplant wolves that have not been involved in repeated depredations.
“The wolves will be released at select sites in Colorado as soon as possible once they arrive in the state to minimize stress on the animals,” said CPW Wolf Conservation Program Manager Eric Odell. “CPW will aim to capture and reintroduce an equal number of males and females. We anticipate that the majority of animals will be in the 1- to 5-year-old range, which is the age that animals would typically disperse from the pack they were born in.”
Visit Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s website and sign up for the Wolf Reintroduction eNews to stay up to date with CPW’s Wolf Restoration efforts.
Written by Travis Duncan. Travis is a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Denver. He has lived in Colorado for nearly 20 years and loves the outdoors.