Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigating first reported wolf-kill in over 70 years
Colorado voters last year narrowly chose to reintroduce wolves into the state’s forests — and this week may have brought the first wolf-related livestock fatality in decades.
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association says a 500-pound heifer was found dead in Walden after being attacked and eaten by a group of wolves — the first confirmed wolf-kill in over 70 years, the association claimed Monday in a news release.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is aware of the report, a spokesperson said via text, and is “actively investigating the claim.”
“If it is determined to be caused by the wolves that have naturally migrated into the state, we will compensate the landowner through current game damage program,” said Rebecca Ferrell, a CPW spokesperson.
The Cattleman’s Association said the incident brings to light several issues that must be addressed by the Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, including lethal and non-lethal methods for conflict minimization and a guaranteed funding source to “fairly provide the needed tools for prevention and compensation from wolf impacts.”
The organization said it’s encouraging CPW and other wolf-related working groups to “consider this wolf attack and the widespread impacts as a sentinel example of how livestock can be impacted by wolf introduction.”
The narrowly-passed Proposition 114 vote last year marked the first time a state’s voters have forced their government to re-introduce an imperiled species.
The proposition directed CPW to develop a plan to reintroduce an undetermined number of gray wolves into the state, west of the Continental Divide, by the end 2023.
Graywolf pups have already been spotted in Colorado this year.
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