By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A Wyoming wolf that migrated to Colorado two years ago has not been seen in several months, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Travis Duncan told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday that while the wolf’s pack has been spotted recently, he doesn’t know if F1084, the alpha female, was one of the group.
“We have recently had visual contact of seven animals in that pack, the male gray colored breeder and six black animals. The animals born in spring 2021 are all black individuals, and full size at this point. It is difficult, if not impossible to differentiate these individuals when observing from a plane and from far distances,” Duncan said.
“The collar on F1084 is no longer functioning, so we cannot use that to determine if she is one of the black animals that has been observed,” he continued.
Duncan said last week that there had been no confirmed sighting of the wolf in months.
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, the first wolf litter in Colorado since the 1940s.
F1084 was originally thought to be male.
Duncan said that if the female wolf is alive, she could possibly be in a den with pups, but there is no evidence that she was successful in breeding this year.
She also could have left the pack, but Duncan said this is unlikely.
If F1084 is dead, it is unlikely the alpha male would mate with one of his offspring. The pack may stay intact without a breeding female for a time, but another unrelated female could theoretically come into the pack and take over the breeding status, Duncan said.
“It is a natural course for wolves to die. F1084 was born in 2016, making her 6 years old, which is old for a wolf in the wild,” he said. “While the attention and the contribution of F1084 to wolves in Colorado has been unique, the fate of an individual animal does not have outstanding significance for the future of wolves in Colorado.”
In May, Cowboy State Daily spoke with Don Gittleson, a Colorado rancher whose livestock had been killed by the wolf pack. The pack had been preying on Gittleson’s animals since Christmas.
It’s illegal to kill or injure wolves due to federal wildlife guidelines. Gray wolves are also considered endangered in Colorado.