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Colorado’s reintroduced wolves have killed four more cattle in Grand County

This marks the largest cluster of livestock losses since reintroduction in December
A wolf from the Eagle Creek Pack near Alpine, Arizona. (Aislinn Maestas/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

It appears wolves have killed four cattle in Grand County over the last week, marking the largest cluster of livestock losses since Colorado reintroduced the species in the area last December.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed the attacks in a statement on Thursday and a spokesperson said the predators likely came from a group of wolves released by the agency in December as part of a voter-approved reintroduction plan. The attack comes just weeks after the first confirmed cattle death linked to the reintroduced wolves.

The wildlife agency first received a report of the new wolf attack – known as livestock “depredation” – on the morning of April 17. A follow-up investigation revealed injuries consistent with a wolf attack on the three deceased yearlings – a term for year-old cattle – at a ranch in Grand County.

A day later, the agency received a report of a fourth animal killed on the same property. A second investigation also found injuries consistent with a wolf attack.

The exact timing of the livestock losses is uncertain due to a snowstorm earlier this week that brought more than a foot of snow to the area. While the dead cattle weren’t discovered until later, the agency believes the attacks occurred Monday night or Tuesday morning. The agency said GPS location collars indicated the reintroduced animals were in the immediate area at the time of the attacks.

A separate population of wolves has taken residence in Jackson County after naturally migrating to the state. In December 2021, the wildlife agency confirmed the first known instance of wolves killing livestock in more than 70 years. A year later, wolves reportedly killed a dog and two cows in Jackson County.

The state plans to release 30 to 50 wolves over the next five years. Farmers and ranchers can apply for up to $15,000 in reimbursement for livestock or guard and herding animals killed or injured by wolves.

To read more stories from Colorado Public Radio, visit www.cpr.org.