Colorado Wolf Reintroduced Dies in Larimer County; Calls for Lethal Management Grow

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently confirmed the discovery of a deceased gray wolf in Larimer County, Colorado, raising concerns within the state’s wildlife management community. The wolf, one of the ten reintroduced to Colorado in December 2023, was found last week, with initial indications suggesting natural causes as the likely reason for its demise. However, further investigation, including a necropsy, is underway to determine the exact cause of death.

The reintroduction of wolves to Colorado has stirred controversy, especially among ranchers in rural areas where recent wolf attacks on livestock have been reported. Several cattle, including calves, were killed in Grand and Jackson counties over a two-week period, with wolves reintroduced in December suspected as the culprits. Despite pleas from ranchers and local organizations, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has refrained from employing lethal methods to address the issue, instead advocating for non-lethal measures which some ranchers argue have limited effectiveness.

The lack of action by CPW has prompted a flood of letters from various stakeholders, including stockgrowers’ associations, county sheriffs, and municipal governments, urging the agency to take decisive action to manage the conflict. These letters highlight the economic and emotional toll on ranchers, whose livelihoods are threatened by ongoing wolf attacks. Furthermore, concerns have been raised about CPW’s handling of the reintroduction process and its failure to provide adequate support to affected ranchers.

The letters emphasize the urgent need for CPW to address the situation, including the removal of problem wolves, sharing live tracking data with ranchers, and fostering genuine local stakeholder engagement. Ranchers feel their voices have been disregarded, and their rights to protect their animals have been ignored, leading to a breakdown in trust between the community and wildlife officials. The demands for action reflect the frustration and desperation of those directly impacted by the wolf reintroduction efforts, underscoring the need for a collaborative and proactive approach to wildlife management in Colorado.

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