GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
There are 2,400 wolves in the Western U.S. and Canada, and the Western Slope will introduce the apex predator no later than the end of December 2023. State Representative, Matt Soper, for District 54 (R) says, “The people voted for it, it’s here, but now, CPW has the tremendous job of coming up with the rules.”
That’s why Colorado Parks and Wildlife held a webinar with two experts. One on wolves and one on the wolves’ prey.
Dr. Diane Boyd is the wolf expert. “I’ve been trapping and collaring wolves for 40 years,” said Boyd.
She says once wolves are reintroduced to an area they can move up to 500 miles, and they will move. Boyd says, “They’re not going to live in the rock and the snow and the ice in the Rocky Mountains. That might be part of their range, but that’s not where they’re going to be living.”
She says wolves need just two things: hoofed prey and habitat. “So, where you’re going to release them has got to incorporate elk or deer in their range, and they have to have habitat where they can den in security.,” said Boyd.
Dr. Jon Horne is an elk expert and studied 200 wolves for 12 years in Idaho and found wolves like elk, but not the trophies humans gun for. “I will say that it’s interesting that wolves tended to select older cows and smaller calves,” said Horne.
He was talking about elk, but since wolves prefer hoofed mammals, it’s not a matter of if they’ll go for cattle, it’s a matter of when. “If a pack is removed for depredating livestock, within a year there’s more wolves back, and then, the idea’s that hopefully the wolves that have replaced the depredators are non depredators,” said Dr. Boyd.
The next CPW education Wolf-inar is set for May 20th discussing gray wolf reintroduction logistics.