Another wolf attack confirmed in Colorado |  Wildlife
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Another wolf attack confirmed in Colorado | Wildlife

Another wolf depredation has taken place in Colorado – this one in Jackson County.

The attack occurred on June 9, 2024, involving a calf, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The report does not specify whether the calf survived.

This is the 11th confirmed livestock involved in a depredation attack and the ninth incident since the official introduction of wolves in December 2023. The first attack took place on April 2.

Prior to the reintroduction, officials confirmed two incidents of depredation in 2023 and 10 in 2022 involving wolves that had naturally migrated into the state.

The release of gray wolves in Grand County last December stoked political tensions over the nation’s most ambitious reintroduction effort in nearly three decades. At the state Capitol, wildlife officials faced intense criticism from lawmakers over what lawmakers described as communication failures.

At the same time, ranchers’ associations have warned that relations between ranchers and the state have deteriorated to the point where the state now threatens wildlife officials’ access to private lands for other conservation efforts.

The 2020 ballot measure that resulted in wolf reintroduction was rejected by virtually every rural county in Colorado, including counties where wolves were reintroduced. Proposition 114 was supported almost entirely by urban and suburban voters, who are unlikely to encounter a wolf. The vote was close — 50.91% to 49.09%.

Ranchers and other organizations have called on the state to fatally eliminate two wolves that they say are responsible for some of the cattle and calf deaths in Grand and Jackson counties.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife denied this request.

Instead, the agency has insisted on “non-lethal” management techniques, which ranchers say are not a deterrent. They include “strobing” foxes, flags and even donkeys, sent by the state to ward off wolves.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Agriculture also announced the hiring of horse riders to protect livestock.

In an earlier statement, the agency said “a human presence such as a horseman can help detect wolves and deploy non-lethal deterrents to prevent livestock depredation.”

But unless agencies plan to hire dozens of range riders, it could have little effect in Grand County, according to Commissioner Merrit Linke, himself a rancher.

The other issue, he said, is getting real-time information on the wolves’ whereabouts, which would help producers know when they should patrol.

Otherwise, it’s a “dice game,” he says.

“We appreciate the help and want to work with CPW and the Department of Agriculture, but logistically it will be very difficult to figure out how to make it effective,” he told Colorado Politics.

The Associated Press and Marianne Goodland contributed to this story.