Colorado’s first known wolf depredation incident in 70 years has occurred on a domestic calf in Jackson County, near Walden, the home of one of Colorado’s wolf packs, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.
Jackson County is in the north-central portion of the state.
“An approximately 500 lbs. purebred replacement heifer was found dead after being attacked and eaten by this pack of wolves,” said Colorado Cattlemen’s Association in a news release. “In early 2021, Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed the existence of this pack in north-central Colorado; however, individual wolves have been sighted in the area previous to the pack confirmation.”
According to CPW, a district wildlife manager received a report just after 9 a.m. on Sunday of a dead calf on a ranch in Jackson County.
“After an initial investigation, CPW wildlife officers are confident in confirming a wolf depredation incident has occurred on a domestic calf in North Park,” read a release from CPW.
“The results of this investigation indicated wolf tracks in the immediate vicinity of the carcass and wounds on the calf consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf in the release.
“This was the first-known wolf depredation in Colorado in 70 years,” CPW public information officer Travis Duncan told CNN in an email on Wednesday.
Gray Wolves are considered a state endangered species, according to CPW, and may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife plans to handle reimbursement to the livestock owner after the incident under its current game damage process as if the depredation occurred by mountain lions or bears.
CPW says they are in the process of formalizing an official process for damage by wolves.