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n this 2014 file photo released by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, a wolf from the Snake River Pack passes by a remote camera in eastern Wallowa County. Oregon is one of the states that may send wolves to Colorado to begin the reintroduction process.
By SENTINEL STAFF Oct 8, 2023 Updated 5 hrs ago
Gray wolves are coming to Colorado and they are coming from Oregon.
In a one-year agreement announced this week 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, a news release said.
The Oregon wolves will be captured and translocated between December 2023 and March 2024.
The CPW Commission approved the final wolf restoration and management plan in May clearing the way for CPW biologists to introduce gray wolves in the Western Slope by the Dec. 31 deadline.
“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 Gov. Jared Polis.
Partnering with the Oregon wildlife agency was essential in helping Colorado hit the end-of-the-year deadline.
“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 Dec. 31, 2023.”
Oregon has helped other states with these kinds of projects.
“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 and the agency will be responsible for all costs associated with capture and transport of wolves.
The details of the capture operation have been lined out:
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 and infections 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.
The goal is to also capture and reintroduce an equal number of males and females with the ideal age range between 1 to 5 years old.
“(That) is the age that animals would typically disperse from the pack they were born in,” Odell said.