NewsLocal News


Collar GPS data indicates some gray wolves have moved into eastern Moffat County, CPW confirms

Wolf Population Idaho
Posted at 9:55 PM, Feb 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-28 13:04:34-05

MOFFAT COUNTY, Colo. — Two of Colorado's recently released gray wolves have traveled from western Routt County into eastern Moffat County, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said Saturday, pointing to recent data from the animals' GPS collars.

This was first reported by Steamboat Radio on Saturday.

As part of the state's voter-mandated reintroduction effort, CPW released its first five gray wolves on Dec. 18 at an undisclosed place in Grand County. Five more were released a few days later in Grand and Summit counties. All 10 had GPS collars. No additional wolves will be released this season, which runs until mid-March, wildlife officials said.

Collar GPS data indicates some gray wolves have moved into eastern Moffat County, CPW confirms

Rachael Gonzales with CPW confirmed with Denver7 that the wolves' location points are collected every four hours at most. The data is downloaded every 16 hours.

"Wolves can and do move substantial distances between the four hours that points are collected, and the terrain and weather can impact when points are received," she said. "This data gives us an informed perspective of where wolves have been, but not where they are, and certainly not where they are going."

Gonzales said CPW will work with livestock producers to provide conflict-mitigation techniques in areas that the wolves will likely explore. Those techniques are laid out in the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, which was approved in May.

Grand County wolves graphic w 360.jpg

Denver7 360 | In-Depth News, Opinion

Grand County residents brace as gray wolf reintroduction process begins

Stephanie Butzer
9:34 PM, Jan 02, 2024

CPW recently announced a new map published on its website to inform people about the wolves' movements, something that had been briefly discussed at the Jan. 11 CPW Commission meeting.

That map, created using the GPS collar data, shows which watersheds the wolves have explored, which are outlined in purple. To protect the animals, specific GPS data is not available to the public.

2024 Feb. 28_gray wolf map

"In order for a watershed to indicate wolf activity, at least one GPS point from the wolf collars was recorded within the boundaries of the watershed," CPW explained in January. "Simply because a watershed indicates wolf activity, it does not mean that a wolf or wolves are present throughout the entire watershed nor that they are currently in the watershed."

CPW said it will update the map on a monthly basis and each new one will be published on the fourth Wednesday of every month — so the updated version was published Feb. 28. It reflects data for the prior month from the GPS collars of the 10 released wolves as well as two wolves in North Park that wandered into Colorado on their own. All known wolves in Colorado have collars, CPW said.

This reintroduction effort will continue according to the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, which calls for the transfer of 30 to 50 wolves to Colorado over a period of three to five years, aiming for 10 to 15 wolves from multiple packs each year. After that point, the reintroduction efforts will stop and CPW will monitor if the population is self-sustaining.

CPW announced on Jan. 19 that it had secured 15 wolves for reintroduction into the Western Slope from tribal lands in northeastern Washington, but the wolves won't set foot in the state until between December 2024 and March 2025.

CPW asks anybody who sees a wolf or wolf tracks to submit a wolf sighting report form through its website. Staff reviews all credible reports. CPW also has a Wolf Educational Resources page, where you can find videos on wolf biology and the reintroduction planning process.

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.