JACKSON, Wyo. — Even if the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan were unable to source wild wolves from Wyoming, there has already been evidence of them crossing state lines.
While the Plan states that ideally wolves from Wyoming, Idaho or Montana would be used to reintroduce the species in Colorado to best match the ecological conditions at the capture and release sites, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon recently told Cowboy State Daily that Wyoming is opposed to sending state wolves to Colorado at the risk of jeopardizing successful management plans.
However, there has already been evidence of Wyoming wolves entering into Colorado. According to the long-term Plan assessment, in April 2015 a Wyoming wolf was confirmed in Middle and North Park, Colorado, by a trail camera and radio collar data. More recently, in July 2019 a Wyoming wolf from the now disbanded Snake River Pack was confirmed in North Park with a photograph.
North Park is the site of Colorado’s North Park pack, the state’s first known pack to birth a litter of pups in 80 years.
Even if Colorado sourced their wolves from Oregon or Washington, the Wyoming/Colorado border is not just a one way street. Members of Colorado’s North Park pack have already seemed to venture into Wyoming, where three of them were suspected of being shot and killed. The reintroduced wolves could be placed as close as 60 miles from Wyoming, which the National Park Service (NPS) says is within a wolf’s territory range.
“Wolves do not recognize political boundaries,” the NPS has also stated on their website. Because of that, wolf management can only do so much dependent on pack location.
Colorado is looking to transfer about 30 to 50 wolves to the state over a three to five year period.