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Fate Of Wyoming Alpha Female Wolf Living In Colorado Is Unknown

in News/wildlife
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Ellen@cowboystatedaily.com

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.

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Wyo Female Wolf Previously Identified As a Male Wolf Has First Litter of Pups Since 1940s

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

A wolf from Wyoming has given birth to Colorado’s first litter of pups since the 1940s.

The female wolf, F1084, was originally part of Wyoming’s Snake River wolf pack, but traveled to Jackson County, Colorado, (which sits close to Laramie) in 2019. She was originally thought to be male, but has actually been identified as a female and has been spotted traveling with a male in recent months.

A Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist and CPW district wildlife manager each reported visual sightings of multiple pups with the female and male, M2101, wolves.

“Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s. We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said. “With voter passage last year of the initiative to require re-introduction of the wolf by the end of 2023, these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families.”

In the last week, CPW staff conducted three separate observations of the den site from a safe distance approximately two miles away. Each of the three sightings included both M2101 “John” and F1084 “Jane”, collared wolves known to reside in the state, along with their three pups. While three pups have been observed over the past week, it is not yet confirmed that these are the only pups in the litter.

A typical wolf litter consists of four to six pups. 

“We are continuing to actively monitor this den site while exercising extreme caution so as not to inadvertently jeopardize the potential survival of these pups,” said Libbie Miller, CPW wildlife biologist. “Our hope is that we will eventually have photos to document this momentous occasion in Colorado’s incredible and diverse wildlife history, but not bothering them remains a paramount concern.”

All three observations of pups have been made at dawn or dusk in low-light conditions and featured quite a bit of movement of M2101 and F1084 with the small pups during brief observation windows.

As the pups grow larger and spend more time outside of the den, biologists and area staff will have additional opportunities to observe the animals. Staff are working with landowners in the area to implement practices to minimize the potential for conflict. 

“It’s incredible that these two adult animals have traveled the distance and overcome the challenges they have to get here, and to now have pups in Colorado,” said Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager for CPW. “It’s our priority to ensure that they have the chance to thrive, so even as we have exciting news, we want to remind everyone that these animals remain endangered in Colorado.”

As an endangered species, killing a gray wolf in Colorado results in a fine of $100,000, jail time and a loss of hunting privileges. Harassment of wildlife is also illegal in the state. 

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Leftist Enviro Group Criticizes Montana Gov for Killing Wolf

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The Center of Biological Diversity has criticized Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte for trapping and killing a gray wolf just outside of Yellowstone National Park last month.

Gov. Greg Gianforte killed the wolf on a ranch 10 miles north of the park in February without first completing a state-required wolf-trapping certification class, authorities said.

The ranch is owned by a media magnate Robert E. Smith, owner of Sinclair Broadcasting, who was a contributor to Gianforte’s campaign, according to Boise State Public Radio. The governor kept the wolf’s skull and pelt.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued the governor a written warning, and he has to take a three-hour course on Wednesday.

The course gives would-be wolf trappers “the background and rules to do so ethically, humanely, and lawfully,” the course’s student manual states.

“It’s surprising to learn that it’s even possible to violate Montana’s lax rules for killing wolves,” said Michael Robinson, spokesman for the center. “The mandatory wolf-trapping class that the governor skipped before setting a trap warns how to avoid public controversy in the course of committing extraordinary cruelty.

“Gov. Gianforte’s flouting of the whitewashing regulations encapsulates perfectly his government’s brazenly shameless treatment of these ecologically vital animals,” he added.

Gianforte’s violation comes 10 years after Congress passed a rider on a must-pass budget bill that removed wolves in Montana and nearby states from the endangered species list.

Montana has subsequently increased the numbers of wolves killed within its borders, and Gianforte is expected to support additional wolf-killing bills making their way through the state Legislature.

“Wolves are vital to their ecosystems and are cherished by so many Montanans and visitors,” said Robinson. “The slaughter in the northern Rocky Mountains is unjustified and downright sickening, much like the governor’s grotesque behavior.”

The governor did have all the necessary hunting licenses to harvest a wolf, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesperson Greg Lemon. 

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Wolf Illegally Killed In Grand Teton National Park

in News/wildlife/Crime
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The National Park Service is investigating the illegal killing of a wolf in Grand Teton National Park.

National Park Service investigators are seeking information regarding the shooting of the wolf, which was collared and described as black-colored. Its body was found near the park’s Pilgrim Creek Trailhead on Oct. 26.

By placing radio collars on wolves, researchers can track the animals’ movements, finding out where they reside in the winter and other information while still allowing the wolves to roam free inside the national parks.

The illegal taking of wildlife is a violation and subject to a fine up to $5,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment.  Additionally, it is a violation to aid or assist in the illegal taking of wildlife and is also subject to a fine up to $5,000 and/or six months imprisonment.

Anyone with information that could help identify any of the individuals involved or was in the area of the Pilgrim Creek Trailhead the morning of Oct. 26 and can provide any information regarding this activity, call or text the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch Tip Line at 888-653-0009. Information can be provided anonymously.   

The Investigative Services Branch assists units of the National Park Service with the immediate and long-term protection of park resources, visitors, assets, employees and residents. 

They accomplish this through detection, investigation, apprehension, and successful prosecution of persons who violate laws of the United States while within, or while affecting, the National Park System.

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