MEEKER, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife found no evidence that wolves were in the area last fall when several calves were killed near Meeker. CPW had launched an investigation into the 2022 deaths that were consistent with wolf depredation.

In October 2022, CPW investigated a report of dead domestic cow calves on White River National Forest lands near Meeker that showed damage consistent with wolf depredation.

After a three-month-long investigation, CPW investigators could not determine the exact cause of the death of the calves.

“Although a few cattle showed wounds consistent with injuries from large canines, further investigation to collect additional evidence has yielded no confirmation of wolves in the area,” said CPW Northwest Region Manager Travis Black.

CPW did discover a pack of nine dogs harassing wildlife seven miles from the livestock incident, which cast doubt on whether wolves were in the area. CPW is working with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office and will deal with any domestic dog issues according to legal processes.

“Based on the hide damage and muscle trauma to the animals, we believe these few cattle were likely killed, or injured and died later by some species of canine larger than coyotes,” Black said. “But, we do not have specific evidence to determine what species of canid caused the depredations. The 90-day window allowed for producers to provide proof of loss has expired, so the investigation is being closed.”  

Livestock owners would be compensated for their losses by state law if it was proven the calves were killed by wolves. The owner of the livestock, Lenny Klinglesmith, praised the agency for its investigation and will not be pursuing compensation based on the lack of evidence of wolves in the area.

Wolf reintroduction must begin by the end of 2023.