Colorado Officials Release Wolves on Western Slope

The controversial plan was mandated by a narrowly-passed ballot initiative back in 2020. On Monday, December 9, Colorado wildlife officials uncrated five gray wolves on a tract of public land west of Denver. The wolves were captured in Oregon earlier this winter. Their release is part of an ongoing effort to re-stock the species into its historic range in select parts of the Centennial State.

he five wolves were the first of anywhere from 30 to 50 that will be released in Colorado over the next 3 to 5 years, Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) said in a press release issued last night. Colorado’s wolf reintroduction goals have been in the works since 2020 when voters mandated the plan via a state-wide referendum that passed on a razor-thin margin. By releasing the wolves on Monday, CPW complied with a fast-approaching Dec. 31 deadline for wolf reintroduction that was laid out in the 2020 ballot initiative.

It’s worth noting that wolves have already been migrating to parts of western Colorado on their own. According to recent reporting in the Fort Collins-based Coloradoan, a confirmed wolf pack in Jackson County, which lies immediately north of Grand County, has been breeding new pups since the Spring of 2021. And CPW has paid out more than $20,000 to ranchers whose pets or livestock have been killed by wolves belonging to the so-called North Park Pack. In March of 2023, two working ranch dogs were killed by wolves within one 24 hour period in Jackson County.