Believe it or not, wolves have been a bit of a hot topic in Colorado politics. This upcoming November, Coloradoans will vote on whether or not wolves should be intentionally reintroduced into Colorado after humans eradicated them from the state in the 1940s.
Whether the vote passes or not, it turns out that humans may not have a say in the matter either way. In October of 2019, a pack of six grey wolves was spotted traveling in northwestern Colorado. Now, those wolves could be settling into their new home.
Just this past June, a wolf pup was spotted in a remote area of northwestern Colorado. While driving on dirt roads through the area with her husband, an off-duty state wildlife biologist spotted an adult grey wolf running across the road and scamper over a hill. Only a few minutes later, the couple spotted a small grey wolf pup trotting across the road following the exact same path as the adult.
The off-duty biologist reported the sighting to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). In an interview with a Colorado public radio station, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Rebecca Ferrell stated that there was no reason to doubt the sighting, however, she noted “We don’t have any photographic evidence or scat to provide additional confirmation at this time”.
Assuming that this sighting is legitimate, it could have some interesting ramifications. The pup sighting clearly means that wolves are in fact breeding. This suggests that wolves could be making a comeback on their own without human intervention. That being said, just because the pack had pups this year, it certainly does not guarantee that the wolf population will increase on its own. Kevin Crooks, an ecologist from Colorado State University, says “Just having a small number of animals — six or seven — would not have a high probability of persistence over the long term. Such a small population is at risk.”
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Regardless, the wolves themselves may end up having the final say in November regarding their future in Colorado. In the meantime, however, CPW will be conducting a number of tests and surveys to gain a better understanding of the current wolf population in Colorado. They plan to release a public report once more data is acquired.