Wolves In Colorado?

Good news wolf advocates. Wolves may have dispersed to Colorado and landed in just the right place, on the 300 square mile High Lonesome Ranch, northeast of Grand Junction. The wolf researcher, Cristina Eisenburg, is working closely with Paul R. Vahldiek, Jr., the major shareholder of the ranch. Eisenburg lives in Northwest Montana and studies wolves and trophic cascades in the North Fork of the Flathead.

Wolf sightings, howls and scat have been identified on the High Lonesome by Cristina and her team. The scat was sent to UCLA for DNA testing and the ranch is waiting for the results to postively confirm the presence of gray wolves.  What welcome news this would be!!

“Committed to conservation of private lands and wildlife, Vahldiek has been working for several years to determine the baseline ecology of the ranch. To further that work, the rancher hired landscape ecologist and large carnivore specialist Cristina Eisenberg to study predator-prey relationships on the land, which was believed to be wolfless. Vahldiek hoped to complete these studies prior to any natural recolonization of wolves. Much to his and Eisenberg’s surprise, it now appears that the storied carnivore has already taken up residence on the property.

Asked about evidence for wolf presence on The High Lonesome Ranch, Eisenberg said, “Wolf sightings, tracks, howling, and other wolf sign gathered over the past eighteen months suggest likely wolf presence, pending DNA analysis results.”

Vahldiek recently became a board member of  the Wildland’s Network who’s mission ” is to reconnect and restore wildlands across North America to allow continued movement of wide-ranging species.” 

Vahldiek first became interested in the role that wolves play in regulating healthy landscapes when he attended a talk by Eisenberg given at the Boone and Crockett Club’s annual conservation meeting at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch. Her presentation made him realize that The High Lonesome Ranch’s approximately 300-square-miles of deeded private and permitted BLM lands might be likely habitat for natural wolf recolonization.

“It seemed logical to me, based on what happened in Yellowstone National Park, that keystone species like wolves might have a positive effect on biodiversity and restoring the health of aspen groves on this property,” notes Vahldiek. His interest in the ecological benefits of keystone species led him to attend further meetings on large landscape-scale conservation convened by the international conservation group Wildlands Network

There are 292,000 elk in Colorado according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2009 Spring press release, plenty of elk for wolves in the state.

Wolves have made a  few ventures into Colorado since they were exterminated from the state by the feds in the 1940’s,  almost seventy years ago.

A little Montana wolf , 314F, made an epic journey to Colorado, arriving in February 09.  There she met her sad end.  If wolves have found a home on the High Lonesome Ranch this could be a better outcome for them in the Centennial State!

===========

Colorado Rancher Says Wolves May Have Arrived; Welcomes Their Return

According to a press release, wild wolves may have already reached a Western Colorado ranchland.
By Press Release, Wildlands Network, Guest Writer, 2-08-10
 
 
http://www.newwest.net/city/article/colorado_rancher_says_wolves_may_have_arrived_welcomes_their_return/C8/L8/
=========

Prodigal Dogs

Have gray wolves found a home in Colorado?

From the February 05, 2010 issue of High Country News
 
 by Michelle Nijhuis
http://www.hcn.org/issues/42.3/prodigal-dogs

=========

Here is wolf 314F’s story:

The Amazing Journey and Sad End of Wolf 314F

Wolf1

She traveled through five states, her GPS collar registering 1000 miles.  This young Mill Creek Pack wolf  left her Montana home in September 08 and arrived in Colorado in February 09.  Her epic journey was long and precarious.  She was tracked through Yellowstone National Park, western Wyoming, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, southeastern Idaho , northeastern Utah, finally arriving in Eagle County, Colorado.  

Her journey ended in March 09 on a lonely hillside in Colorado called “No Name Ridge, where her bones were found.  Nobody is saying how she died.  The investigation into her death is ongoing.

314F’s life and death reinforces the argument wolves need ESA protection,  especially when they’re dispersing  in search of other wolves or a mate.  They’re under constant pressure from the SSS mentality, which makes this young wolf’s journey so incredible.  Hopefully more wolves will make the trip.  Colorado has some of the best wolf habitat in the lower forty-eight.

Against all odds, this eighteen month old wolf showed the world what wolves are made of. I hope Wildlife officials discover how she met her end.  If she died by human hands this person or persons should be prosecuted!  

============ 

Lonely Lady Wolf Looks For Love in All The Wrong Places

Rocky Mountain News

By Berny Morson

Published February 25, 2009 at 3:09 p.m.

Call it the power of  love.

A female wolf has wandered more than 1,000 miles through five states in search of a mate and is now in Colorado’s Eagle County, wildlife officials in Colorado and Montana said Wednesday.

The wolf, known only as 314F, set off on her lonely quest in September when, for reasons unknown, she became unhappy with the male prospects among the pack of seven animals she was born into 20 months earlier.

Since then, 314F has followed her heart from the Paradise Valley north of Yellowstone National Park through Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. She has trotted past areas where other wolf packs are known to live toward a state that has not had a wolf population for 60 years.

Montana officials follow her progress with a global positioning device on a collar that was fitted to her neck in July.

“Basically, what she’s doing is, she’s wandering around looking to see if there’s other wolves around,” said Carolyn Sime, wolf program coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Her prospects here are not good. The last confirmed wolf sighting in Colorado was a male who made his way from Yellowstone in 2004. But he was killed on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs before anyone knew he was here.

Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist Shane Briggs said that when wolf packs get too large, some animals leave in search of a mate with whom to start a new pack in a different area, Briggs said. That’s how the species increases its range, he said.

Before the 2004 sighting, wolves were considered extinct in Colorado. The last confirmed one had been killed in 1943.

Wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2009/feb/25/yellowstone-wolf-travels-1000-miles-colorado/?partner=RSS

===================

Suspicion Surrounds Colorado Wolf Death

Did the epic journey of Wolf 341F from Montana to Colorado end at the hands of a human? Officials aren’t saying.

By David Frey, 9-27-09

http://www.newwest.net/topic/article/suspicion_surrounds_colorado_wolf_death/C41/L41/

* It’s been reported that wolf  314F’s number is actually 341F but since she is so well known as 314F, I didn’t make any changes.

 

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Posted in : Wolves in Colorado,  wolf recovery, gray wolf/canis lupus

Tags: Dispersing wolves, wolf recovery, Colorado wolves

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  1. [...] Wolves In Colorado? « Howling For Justice [...]

  2. Cristina Eisenburg is obviously at the fore-front of wolf ecology. Her work outside Glacier NP, and now in Colorado on “trophic cascade” is widely recognized.
    Wouldn’t it be refreshing to have someone with her expertise and knowledge in charge of the floundering wolf management program in Montana?

    • Yes it would CLF. Things would be very different for wolves in Montana if she was running the show. I admire her work tremendously, especially in the North Fork of the Flathead.

      N.

  3. Very well done,plus very interesting and informative.I grew up in Colorado and know what it was like 54 years ago.It can be quite a bit better than that today,but we have to let nature,(?)do it’s thing.Anyway very good.

    Ron & Doris Hargreaves

    • Thank you Ron and Doris for your kind words. I’m glad you found the post informative. My mission is to speak the truth about wolves to counter the propoganda.

      I really hope wolves have dispersed to Colorado. I want to see them inhabit their historic home range. Keeping my fingers crossed.

      Thanks for reading!

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  4. i welcome there return i had already known they were back before this article but never mentioned it to give them a chance. I have run into them a few times while hunting hiking and camping. I had hoped my silence would keep them safe.
    They are in my prayers and i hope people will give them a chance to live there lives.

    • Nicely said zen…I wish more hunters thought the way you do.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  5. I heard wolves in september of 09. I was up at carson lake in colorado. I heard 4-5 wolf howls coming from different directions one after the other. It was a real surprise to hear them and a comfort that they are coming back to colorado. I don’t know if it was the high lonesome ranch wolf pack or not. Where I was is only about 20 miles away from the ranch. It would be a better hunting and breeding ground than the ranch.

  6. It is indeed heartening to read that the wolves are attempting to repopulate Colorado. This is right and it is good!

    More than a year ago, I wad offered a job in the state and as usual looked up the wildlife status of the area. I was very dismayed to read the bloody history of mass slaughter leading to the extinction of the wolf in Colorado. At that time, there were no listings and Colorado was assumed to be wolfless. My desire to live and work there plummeted. Although my work is in the arts or perhaps because it is, I cannot live among people who have no sense of their place in nature.

    I am praying that the work of Ms. Eisenberg and those who have been listening to her will protect and respect and welcome back the wolf.

    • Sharon…If only there was somewhere for wolves to go where they would be safe but even if they manage to run the gauntlet and make it through Wyoming or Idaho they end up running into the same trouble they have in those states…intolerance. It’s the ranching and hunting lobbies who have all the power in the West and unless and until wildlife advocates have a say in how wildlife is handled in these Western states, wolves will continue to suffer under tremendous persecution. This has to stop and we have to find a way to stop it.

      N.

  7. No one will probably believe this…but while driving down Cresta
    from Cheyenne Blvd. around 10:00 A.M. this morning, I actually
    saw a wolf walking/running down the side of the road…I’m wondering
    if anyone in this neighborhood has seen this wolf…and would
    love to hear from them if they have. So much for not having wolves
    in Colorado Springs…it was a beautiful white/gray/black very
    healthy looking wolf…a great sight to see!
    Jo Ann Hauck
    Colorado Springs, Co. 80906

    • Jo Ann,

      How amazing you spotted a wolf in Colorado Springs. I’m a little worried about people knowing it’s there though. LIttle 314f ventured to Colorado on her epic journey from Montana and she was found dead on a lonely hillside called No Name Ridge. Also I had to remove your phone number because it’s an open forum and you could be harassed by the anti-wolf crowd.

      Thank you for reporting on the wolf sighting. Is there any possibility it could have been a wolf dog? It would be hard to tell but some of the high content wolf dogs look identical to wolves. Another thing wolves are very shy and elusive, usually they wouldn’t be traveling on the side of a busy road unless they were habituated to people. Of course don’t want to rain on your parade but I would check to see if any wolf dogs are being reported lost in the area.

      I hope its true that wolves are alive and well in Colorado, they are being hunted in Montana and Idaho.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

      • Nabeki…

        Thanks for your response. I had thought about the possibility
        of it being a wolf dog….and I know what you mean about wolves
        being shy and elusive. It just carried itself totally different from
        a typical wolf dog…and it’s aloofness and demur made it stand
        out…It was a snowy day and the roads were covered with snow and there was no traffic (except for me). I’m hoping that I might get a response from some other
        Colorado Springs residents in the Skyway or Canon area that
        may have spotted this wolf.
        I left my telephone number so anyone who may have seen this
        wolf (or wolf/dog) would be able to contact me, but I know that
        they can post a comment on this website.
        I definitely will check to see if any wolf dogs have been reported
        missing. Again, I appreciate your response.

        Jo Ann

  8. I spotted a wolf just yesterday while riding home from work on my scooter. It was on the north edge of Boulder, on Jay Rd. I thought it was a coyote at first, but it looked straight at me, and it was much bigger and had a different coat. Obviously a wolf once I saw it clearly. It was relatively small, but did look like a healthy animal. It was travelling south across a cow field.

  9. I don’t know if it was a wolf or not, but I spotted a german shepherd sized wolf-like animal in Deer Creek Canyon. It was crossing a snow covered field adjacent to the foothills. We have elk, deer, bear, and mountain lions in the area. It had a bit of silver in its fur, but it was mostly a sandy color. It could have been a very large coyote, but I have never seen a coyote of that size. It was probably a hundred yards from me and I was driving a car. I could be mistaken.

    • It could have been a wolf Angela. They are pretty distinctive looking.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

    • Hi Angela…

      Where in Colorado is Deer Creek Canyon? I live in a sort
      of remote area of Colorado Springs (Cheyenne Canon) and
      I sent an earlier post that I saw a wolf in that area…very up
      close…and it was exactly like you described the one you saw…
      It was beautiful, and very distincive a wolf.

      How fun!

  10. At about 4:30AM on (I believe) Tuesday, Jan 10 (full moon was Jan 9), my mother-in-law, who has been staying with us in a subdivision in Falcon, CO (just East of Colorado Springs), heard what seemed to her to sound like the howling of a wolf. She looked out a front window and saw what appeared to her to be a wolf finish a howl and then start walking down the sidewalk in front of our house.

    • John…I do believe there are wolves in Colorado, thank goodness they’re not collared. Colorado has almost 300,000 elk, perfect wolf habitat. Let’s hope they continue to disperse there but quietly, otherwise they’ll be tagged, collared and followed like common criminals, like they do in any other state where they live. The only collar I agree with is Journey (OR-7) because he is so alone and we need to keep track of him.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

  11. I am studying to be a wildlife biologist and have been leaning more and more towards a specialty in wolves. I live in Clear Creek county, CO, up at almost 11,000 elevation north west of Idaho Springs. I have heard 3 or 4 stories of wolf sightings on my mountain from extremely credible witnesses. A friend of mine is a park ranger for Jeffco and she confirmed that the roadkill a few years ago was actually on Fall River Rd (my road) and was confirmed wolf. She tells me that we have the perfect habitat for them here.
    I have been scouring the web for info on wolves in the area, and also volunteer programs with county or feds that I could become involved with. Any info I would greatly appreciate. I want to become involved!! And my children are interested as well.
    Heather
    Please email me with info!!

    • Hi Heather,

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there were wolves in Colorado but as far as I know there are no documented breeding pairs. Wolves have to travel a gauntlet to get to your state. Wolf 314’s (341f)epic journey from Montana to Colorado ended badly. But I believe that if wolves have the opportunity to disperse to your state they would do wonderfully there. You have almost 300,000 elk in Colorado. The problem is Wyoming’s plan to shoot wolves on sight. God forbid if that ever became law, it would decimate the wolf population in Wyoming and there would be few if any wolves left to disperse to surrounding states.

      I have your email but I removed it from your message because it’s a policy not to advertise readers emails. I try to protect your privacy (: But I have it on file and will send you any information I have on wolves dispersing to Colorado.

      One more thing I forgot to mention, USFWS is thinking about reintroducing wolves into the Baca National Wildlife Refuge to cull elk. So that would be a big positive. Already all the hunting groups are having a fit. They need to hear from us on this. I’ll be posting more on this later in the week. Or you can check Wolf Warriors…we’re posting on this right now. http://facebook.com/wolfwarriors

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

    • Hi we were travelling through rocky mountain national park in 2012 and a grey wolf ran across the road in front of us it then watched us through the trees and my wife grabbed the camera and snapped away. We have one photo when blown up you can see his back end and half of his face starring at us, it was huge

  12. [...] Wolves In Colorado? « Howling For JusticeFeb 9, 2010 … Good news wolf advocates. Wolves may have dispersed to Colorado and landed in just the right place, on the 300 square mile High Lonesome … [...]

  13. [...] Wolves In Colorado? « Howling For JusticeFeb 9, 2010 … Good news wolf advocates. Wolves may have dispersed to Colorado and landed in just the right place, on the 300 square mile High Lonesome … [...]

  14. My husband and I saw a large dark wolf off hwy 285 near Como. This was not near the hwy but to the east off Elk Horn Rd. I raise malamutes so I know the difference well between the two. The shape, coat, tail and body language was different than the malamute.

  15. I am heartened at some of what I read, re dispersal of the wolf into Colorado, but so saddened at the completely unreasonable blind hatred that this magnificent creature suffers at the hands of the herdsmen and hunters! Anything I can do, I will do.

    BTW, in the country in which I reside, I can joyfully report that the wolf is protected and respected and his/her numbers are growing! This, despite the concerns of the sheep and cattle ranches- mainly due to the efforts of both the Nature Protection org’s to cooperate with those potentially affected by wolf predation.

  16. Angela, I bicycle up Deer Creek Canyon three days a week. I always see deer on my ride. It seems to me that they are still very relaxed. So while I could easily believe that you may have seen a lone wolf, I don’t think that there is any chance of there being a pack. I also see a lot of foxes and the occasional coyote in the canyon. A few wild turkeys seem to make their home there as well.

    I do some target archery, and last year I was at an archery target range while visiting my sister in Salt Lake. I was talking to one of the bow hunters there and he told me that he had spoted three wolves in northern eastern Utah while he was out on a bow hunt. At first he thought that he was looking at a coyote and was getting ready to take a shot at it. Then he realized that it looked extremely large, so he put down his bow and checked it out in his field glasses. It turned out to be a wolf. Looking around the area, he saw two more wolves. Of course he didn’t shoot at them, since they are protected.

    So, that tells us that he saw either a small pack of a fraction of a larger pack. In any case, it would seem to indicate that the likelyhood that there are reproducing wolves in Utah is very high. And if they are in Utah, then the migration from there to Colorado is very easy, it can be done almost without leaving open or mountainous range. Bottom line is that they are either in Colorado or they soon will be.

  17. There are positively wolves in Colorado wild and uncollared ! My son an Alaskan bush pilot,wife and myself being former Alaskans have recently had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful, gray colored and healthy wolf.

  18. I am a resident of Grand County, Colorado(Rocky Mountain National Park area) and have to live with the Moose, which was introduced for the purpose of tourism. This animal does not belong here but is strictly protected none-the-less. Wolves are native and elk are over populated. We need to worry less about legalizing marajuana and more about righting the wrongs or our forefathers. Why is this not on the 2012 ballad?

  19. On November 25, 2012, Lucinda said:
    I was walking my small dog in Kissing Camels, where I have seen many coyotes before, when a very large animal with gray fur and white around the neck came up onto the ridge from a ravine, howled once, yapped twice, and howled again. It had to be a wolf, didn’t look anything like the coyotes around here, much larger with an entirely different, lush looking coat. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what I saw. Do you think maybe the Waldo Canyon Fires or the Penrose area fires have displaced them from more remote areas?

  20. So I have lived in Colorado since I was about 10. I remeber a very snowy winter day when we were up in the Rocky Mountain national park and had seen what looked like an extremely large black dog sitting right at he edge of the forest as as we were parked looking at something else we watched the large black dog which we decided was not a coyote due to size and coat move along the edge before disappearing im assuming to was a wolf. The black dog moved nothing like the packs of smaller coyote move that we had observed in the park earlier that fall. I believe this was back around 2004. The next time my family and I saw what my uncle called a “wolf- otye” bc half of us decided the creature was a wolf while the other half swore it was a large coyote was in FairPlay Colorado. In 2007, we had just pulled into the drive way of our cabin which is located in the Silverhills area and sits next to a national forest access, and dark outisde my uncle noticed movement at the edge of the light from the porch. Im pretty sure iit was a wolf bc of the face shape coat color and thickness. We all moved from the car as a group and into the cabin. The animal stayed at the very edge of the light an watched us as we watched him from the deck. Eventually he left. We think he was interested in some food that had been left outside on accident but we have not seen him since. We did have him on video but my uncles camera was stolen from his home. Hopefully, this beautiful creature is making a silent comeback. We need the natural population control for elk and deer! I know these sittings are older but I had always wondered!

  21. I was on my home to Denver from Walden, Lake John on Sun. morning about 7:30a.m.I was keeping my eye out for Moose sightings when I spotted what I believe to be a wold but couldn’t believe my eyes! I could not stop on the curve of the property to try to get a picture but would bet money that is what it was.

  22. I believe I saw one outside of ellicot (near Colorado springs) we go up there to fix my grandpas rentals and on the way back to cheraw (La junta area) we think we saw a wolf in pasture land off a side road it was
    bigger than a coyote and it was grey but ran off as soon as our headlights shone on it

  23. My hunting buddies and I saw a black phase Gray wolf on Friday 10/11/2013 near Ripple Creek Pass. He crossed Rte. 8 coming from the Pagoda Peak area and headed east towards Pyramid Peak. He stayed on the road for about 3 minutes at about 75 yards away and gave us a clear view with binocs that it was a wolf and not a dog. Weighed about 85-95 lbs, so it was clearly not a black coyote.

  24. Just saw a Wolf today east of Pueblo Colorado headed towards La Junta got off on a side road headed for Crowley Co before we got to Ordway Co it was in pasture Land gray and white it was big, I thought there’s not Wolves in Colorado and thats how I found this site.Amazing

  25. I am pretty sure that I saw a wolf today. I was with my wife and we both agree that it was a wolf. We live in Colorado Mountain Estates near Cripple Creek Colorado. We have been told that there are no wolfs in Colorado but I disagree! I have seen many Coyotes and this was a wolf!
    Any news on wolfs in this area?

  26. i am only 14 but I have had an obsession with wolves forever, I do research and help as much as I can, I have donemillions of reports for school on them and I also live in Missouri and we have wolves and I support that wolves should b protected


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