JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. — On Wednesday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife collared its first gray wolf born in Colorado.
CPW said the wolf pup was darted with a tranquilizer from a helicopter in North Park, a basin in the north-central mountains of Colorado. Then, field staff fit the collar on the animal and performed a brief health exam, which showed she was in good shape, CPW said.
The pup was identified as 2202 — "22" indicates the year and the second two numbers indicate the order it's collared, with all odd numbers being on male wolves and all even numbers on females.
Female wolf F1084 and male wolf 2101 gave birth to a six-pup litter in 2021, which included wolf 2202. It was the first known wolf litter to call Colorado home since the 1940s.
Since last year, the eight-unit pack has lived around North Park.
The adult female, F1084, migrated to Colorado from the Snake River Pack in Wyoming. She was fitted with a collar previously, but it had stopped transmitting, which led CPW to plan to put a collar on another member of the pack.
The collars allow biology and wildlife managers to learn more about their behaviors, CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said. Wildlife officers used wolves' prints and scat as the primary tools to verify where they live in Colorado.
Wolf 2202 is the first gray wolf born in Colorado to be collared, but CPW has collared an adult wolf before after it moved in from Wyoming.
CPW is working on plans to reintroduce gray wolves west of the Continental Divide after Colorado voters approved Proposition 114 in November 2020. While these plans are underway, animals have moved into the state on their own accord.
Multiple wolf-human conflicts have been reported in the past few months: a 500-pound purebred replacement heifer was killed by a pack in December, wolves attacked two cows on a North Park ranch in January, and a domestic dog was killed in North Park in January.
Gray wolves have been delisted from the federal endangered species list, but remain a state endangered species. It is illegal to kill them with the exception of personal self-defense, CPW said. Illegally killing a gray wolf can result in a combination of penalties, including fines up to $100,000, a year in jail, and a lifetime loss of hunting license privileges. Harassment of wildlife is illegal in the state.
If you see a gray wolf, CPW asks that you fill out its wolf sighting form here. If possible, wildlife officers ask that you take photos and videos.