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CPW Secures Gray Wolves for Initial Reintroduction Efforts from Oregon

By Dave Shaffer

In an Eastmans BLOG just last month we discussed the problems Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) was having securing a source population of wolves for their initial reintroduction efforts.  CPW had been looking at Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, but in every case, they had been turned down.

Today (Oct 6) CPW reported on their website that in a one-year agreement between CPW and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon will be a source for up to 10 wolves for the Colorado gray wolf reintroduction effort. These wolves will be captured and translocated between December 2023 and March 2024. 

Ever since Proposition 114 was approved in 2020, CPW has been working on a recovery and management plan to comply with the measure to reintroduce wolves by the end of 2023. Until today, they had not found a source of wolves to begin actual reintroduction; however, now they will be able to get started.

“We are deeply grateful for Oregon’s partnership in this endeavor, and we are now one step closer to fulfilling the will of the voters in time,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

New CPW Director, Jeff Davis added, “This agreement will help ensure Colorado Parks and Wildlife can meet its statutory mandate to begin releasing wolves in Colorado by December 31, 2023. 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 reports they will begin capture operations this December, with ODFW providing some assistance by sharing wolf location information and best practices for wolf capture. CPW will be responsible for all 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 crated in sturdy 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 CPW Wolf Conservation Program Manager Eric Odell. “CPW will aim to capture and reintroduce an equal number of males and females. 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.” 

Visit CPW’s Stay Informed page and sign up for the Wolf Reintroduction eNews to stay up to date with CPW’s Wolf Restoration efforts.

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