Colorado wolf kills calf in Grand County, but wildlife officials won’t say if reintroduced animal responsible

A wolf killed a calf in north-central Colorado this week, but wildlife officials wouldn’t say whether the animal responsible was one of the 10 released in December as part of the state’s reintroduction effort.

The kill, discovered Tuesday in Grand County and confirmed Wednesday, was the first verified predation of livestock since the state released wolves late last year as part of its voter-mandated reintroduction of the species. Those wolves joined a pack that previously had migrated into Colorado from Wyoming and had two wolves remaining.

The risk of wolves preying on livestock fueled strong opposition by ranchers to the reintroduction, which found most of its support from urban voters.

A news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife did not say if the wolf was one of the reintroduced animals or was one of the more-established wolves. In response to a follow-up question from The Denver Post, CPW spokesman Travis Duncan said: “CPW is not identifying which wolves were involved in this incident.”

Duncan also would not say how many wolves were involved in the kill.

The calf carcass had teeth marks on its hindquarters and neck and hemorrhaging under its hide, all of which are consistent with a wolf attack, CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington said in the release.

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Investigators also found wolf tracks nearby.

Wildlife officials believe there are 12 wolves in Colorado: the 10 introduced in December and two from a pack that established itself in Jackson County after migrating from Wyoming. All of the wolves have GPS collars that record the animals’ locations every four hours, though one collar stopped functioning in the last month.

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