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Colorado's wolves roamed from northwesternmost county to across Continental Divide last month

Jacob Factor, The Denver Post on

Published in Science & Technology News

DENVER — Wolves from Colorado’s new pack expanded their roaming range over the past 35 days to the state’s northwesternmost county and across the Continental Divide, according to a map state officials released Wednesday.

The map tracks the wolves’ movements generally by watersheds into which they’ve wandered and shows the wolves entered at least three different watersheds in Larimer County — the western border of which is the Continental Divide. Two wolves also traveled from western Routt County into eastern Moffat County, according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release attached with the map.

The wolves have also wandered into several watersheds that touch or cross the border with Wyoming, but CPW spokesperson Joey Livingston said the department will not comment on any wolf movement outside Colorado.

While the wolves extended into areas farther east, west and north of last month’s data, this month, they did not enter the more southern watersheds that include Avon and Vail.

The data from the map was collected through GPS collars over 35 days from Jan. 23 to Feb. 27, according to the map.

“CPW continues to work with livestock producers to provide conflict-mitigation techniques and will continue to conduct outreach/education in areas that are likely to have wolves,” the news release stated.

CPW decided to use watersheds to track the wolves’ movements because wolves use natural features, not political borders, to travel, and sharing general locations rather than specific data protects the wolves from people.

 

If a watershed is included on the map, that means at least one wolf entered that area over the last month. The wolf may or may not remain there, and it may not have traversed every part of that watershed.

Livingston said he could not say how many wolves may have crossed the Continental Divide into Larimer County.

All 12 wolves known to be in Colorado — the 10 released last month and the two from Wyoming — have collars that record a position every four hours.

The release of last month’s map came as wildlife officials were criticized by state lawmakers over lack of transparency in the December release of the wolves.

Wildlife leaders have been criticized repeatedly for failing to notify local ranchers, leaders and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission before the Dec. 18 release of five wolves in Grand County — the first to be reintroduced in Colorado.

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