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Could wolverines make a return to Colorado? CPW is revisiting a possible reintroduction plan

Posted at 10:21 AM, Mar 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-08 12:26:34-05

DENVER — Could wolverines return to Colorado? Colorado Parks and Wildlife says they are revisiting a process for the animal's reintroduction from about a decade ago.

As first reported by The Colorado Sun on Monday, CPW confirmed that it is checking to see if that stakeholder process, which began in 2010, may still be workable in Colorado, including any updates from the past 12 years, said CPW's Rebecca Ferrell. The animals were extirpated in 1919, though there have been occasional sightings in the state. In the latest instance, researchers tracked a wolverine that traveled into northcentral Colorado in 2009.

Ferrell said CPW will work with a wolverine expert who will provide more details on restoration and management of the species. That contract is not yet in place.

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Colorado habitat is ideal for wolverines, which thrive at cold, high elevations and rugged terrain. The state has the capacity to support about 100 of them. Where they do live, their numbers are extremely low, according to CPW, as they are solitary, territorial animals with large home ranges.

Wolverines feed on a variety of food, from small rodents to carrion to plants. In turn, their natural predators include wolves, mountain lions and bears.

According to CPW, they are most active in the morning and evenings.

Currently, they call home to much of Canada and Alaska, with smaller populations in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, where they can find a home in arctic, subarctic and alpine areas. About 400 wolverines live in the contiguous United States, CPW said.