JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are working to confirm two reported sightings of a gray wolf in Colorado. One sighting was reported in Jackson County and another was reported in Grand County.
“Last month, a wolf was photographed in northwest Colorado by a private citizen!” Gov. Jared Polis wrote on Facebook. “CPW received many reports of wolf sightings near our northern border, but photographs are much rarer.”
CPW shared photos of the animal on Twitter. You can see it is wearing a tracking collar.
“The Gray Wolf is gradually returning to its historic homeland in Colorado from areas with healthy wolf populations including Montana and Wyoming,” Polis wrote.
CPW has biologists in the field working to verify the reported sighting.
A gray wolf was shot and killed in Grand County two years ago. Polis pointed out that killing a wolf, except in self defense, is a federal crime subject to fines of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison.
Attempts to re-introduce gray wolves to Colorado have sparked contentious debates.
Supporters say the wolves improve the ecology and help control elk and deer herds. Some are pushing for a ballot measure asking voters to allow officials to reintroduce wolves here.
However, some ranchers are concerned that wolves will kill their livestock. They say letting voters decide whether wolves are brought back will be unfair to people who live in rural areas.
If you think you’ve seen a wolf in Colorado recently, report it here: cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/Wolf-Sighting-Form