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.
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
* 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