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Colorado confirms first wolf kill of livestock in decades

A gray wolf crossing a stream in Montana. (Adobe stock image)
Calf carcass found on ranch in North Park

DENVER — Wildlife officials have confirmed that a domestic calf found dead in northern Colorado was killed by a wolf or wolves, marking the first wolf-related livestock fatality in the state in decades.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said Tuesday they performed a necropsy after receiving a report of a calf carcass on a ranch in North Park on Sunday.

“The results of this investigation indicated wolf tracks in the immediate vicinity of the carcass and wounds on the calf consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf.

CPW will handle reimbursement to the ranch as if the calf were attacked by mountain lions or bears. The agency is formalizing an official process for damage by wolves and is working on draft regulations involving wolves that migrate into the state

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association said in a news release Monday that, if confirmed, the death would be the first of its kind in more than 70 years.

Colorado voters narrowly passed a proposition last year to direct state wildlife officials to develop a plan to reintroduce an undetermined number of gray wolves into the state, west of the Continental Divide, by the end 2023, The Denver Post reported.

Gray wolf pups have already been spotted in the state this year.