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All 10 gray wolves from Oregon now reside on Colorado's Western Slope, 2023 reintroduction phase complete

All 10 gray wolves captured in Oregon now reside on Colorado's Western Slope
All 10 gray wolves captured in Oregon now reside on Colorado's Western Slope 00:31

Colorado Parks and Wildlife completed its goal to introduce 10 gray wolves in the state by the end of 2023 on Friday, CPW confirmed in a press release

According to CPW, its team completed its agreement to capture 10 gray wolves in Oregon and then release them in the state to work toward restoring a permanent population in Colorado. So no more capture and releases are expected for the remainder of 2023.

Wolf 2306-OR shortly after release in Colorado on Dec. 19. CPW

"CPW will continue working to source additional animals until up to 15 wolves have been reintroduced in Colorado by mid-March 2024," the agency shared in its press release. This would fall within the agreement with Oregon for the December 2023 to March 2024 capture season. 

Five gray wolves from Oregon were first released in Colorado on Dec. 18 in Grand County in an event where Gov. Jared Polis joined CPW — marking the first time since the 1940s there had been a reintroduction of the animals on state lands. 

CPW explained in its update the next group of five wolves were then released without widespread knowledge of time and location for safety reasons, but it was confirmed these also took place in Grand County and also in Summit County. 

All 10 wolves that are now living in Colorado were yearling and adult wolves that were mature enough to hunt prey on their own — wolves that are 20 months and older. 

All of CPW's actions fall under the vector of the designed Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, which passed by voter decision in the 2020 election as Colorado Proposition 114 and became state statute 33-2-105.8.  

The anticipation and implementation of the gray wolf restoration program has not come without ample controversy in the state, however. Colorado Cattlemen's Association and Gunnison County Stockgrowers Association filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado over the plan. The suit addresses concerns about potential impacts of wolf introduction on livestock and rural communities. 

Despite concerns from these Coloradans, 10 gray wolves will continue to roam the state west of the Continental Divide heading into the new year.   

The wolves were given the following identifications for tracking, according to CPW:   

2302-ORFYearling68 lbsBlackFive Points
2303-ORMYearling76 lbsGrayFive Points
2304-ORFYearling76 lbsGrayNoregaard
2305-ORMYearling93 lbsGrayNoregaard
2306-ORFYearling66 lbsGrayNoregaard
2307-ORMAdult108 lbsBlackWenaha
2308-ORFYearling74 lbsGrayNoregaard
2309-ORMAdult104 lbsGrayWenaha
2310-ORFYearling71 lbsGrayDesolation
2312-ORFYearling76 lbsGrayNo Pack

Per CPW, "Note: All wolves captured, collared, and released in Colorado will use the same naming convention: The first two numbers (23) will indicate the year the animal was captured. The second set of numbers informs biologists of the wolf's gender (males will have odd numbers, females will have even) and the order in which it was collared. *The "OR" suffix indicates the wolves came from Oregon."

Also in December, a settlement approved by a federal court ruled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must draft a new recovery plan for gray wolves listed under the Endangered Species Act within two years. The plan must promote the conservation of the species.

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