Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reached an agreement to relocate up to 10 wolves from Oregon as part of efforts to reintroduce wolves in Colorado.
The wolves will be captured and moved between December and March to meet a Dec. 31 deadline imposed by the ballot measure approved by voters in 2020 to reintroduce wolves by the end of 2023.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a final wolf restoration and management plan in May. CPW reached a one-year agreement with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to obtain the wolves.
“We are grateful to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for working with our agency on this critical next step in reintroducing gray wolves in the state,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “This agreement will help ensure Colorado Parks and Wildlife can meet its statutory mandate to begin releasing wolves in Colorado by Dec. 31, 2023.”
Curt Melcher, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said Oregon has a long history of helping other states meet their conservation goals by providing animals for translocation efforts. “The wolves will come from northeast Oregon, where wolves are most abundant in the state and where removal of 10 wolves will not impact any conservation goals.”
CPW will begin capture operations this December, with ODFW providing assistance by sharing wolf location information and best practices for wolf capture. CPW will be responsible for costs associated with capture and transport of wolves. CPW staff will work with contracted helicopter crews and spotter planes to capture wolves
Wolves will be tested and treated for disease at the source sites. Collars will be placed on wolves and physical measurements will be done in the field in Oregon. Wolves will be placed in aluminum crates and transported to Colorado either by truck or airplane
“The wolves will be released at select sites in Colorado as soon as possible once they arrive in the state to minimize stress on the animals,” said Eric Odell, CPW wolf conservation program manager Eric Odell. “We anticipate that the majority of animals will be in the 1- to 5-year-old range, which is the age that animals would typically disperse from the pack they were born in.”