By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A wolf which broke away from a Wyoming pack will not be put-down for preying on cattle in northern Colorado, wildlife officials told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spokesman Travis Duncan told Cowboy State Daily that three cows believed to have been killed by wolf “F1084” near Walden in northern Colorado will not be destroyed because of its status under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
CPW rather will be working closely with ranchers in the community to implement approved hazing methods, such as fencing, carcass management, guard animals, scare tactics, and more.
“Gray wolves are also a state endangered species in Colorado, and wolves may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense,” Duncan said. “The gray wolf in Colorado is protected by the ESA and state law. Penalties can vary and can include fines up to $100,000, jail time and loss of hunting privileges.”
The most recent report of cow depredation was on March 15. Injuries to the cow were consistent with a wolf attack and wolf tracks were found on the scene. A necropsy was performed, and bite marks confirmed the animal was a wolf.
“Three cows have been killed by wolves in three separate depredation incidents in Colorado, the first on Dec. 19, 2021,” Duncan said. “CPW wildlife officers believe the three depredation incidents on livestock that have occured in Jackson County, Colorado were due to the known population of 8 wolves nearby, which includes F1084.”
Duncan said depredation events are relatively rare and wolves tend to prey on ungulates, such as deer and elk. However, if livestock and wolves share a landscape, conflicts may arise, as CPW has seen in recent months.
“It is worth pointing out that this depredation incident is not related to or a result of wolf reintroduction efforts in Colorado,” Duncan said. “It’s also worth noting that the state has an existing depredation reimbursement fund for predation by other species that can be used for wolf depredation, and depredation reimbursement options specifically related to wolf reintroduction are currently being evaluated to develop reintroduction plan recommendations.”
F1084 mated and is traveling with M2101, who was collared in 2021. The female wolf was collared when she was in Wyoming. The two wolves had six pups in 2021, making the pack a total of eight and the first wolf litter in Colorado since the 1940s.
F1084 was originally thought to be male.