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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spotted a gray wolf in the north-central part of Colorado in January and was able to place a GPS tracking collar on it.

CPW confirmed it was a wolf when it was spotted with another collared wolf that entered Colorado in 2019 from the Snake River wolf pack in Wyoming.

“The GPS collar will allow our biologists and wildlife managers to learn more about the travel patterns of wolves that are coming into the state,” said Dan Prenzlow, Director, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “VHF collars are useful for locating an animal but the more advanced GPS collar will allow us to get a much better understanding of the animal’s movement, range and behaviors.” 

CPW said it netted the wolf from a helicopter and used a tranquilizer so that the collar could be placed.

While in the process, the wolf got loose from the net it was in and headed north toward Wyoming, according to CPW.

CPW said the wolf was subdued just inside of the Wyoming state line.  At that time, it was collared and staff remained with it until it was alert and mobile. CPW staff notified Wyoming Game and Fish of the operation and the crossing of the border. 

“We appreciate Wyoming Game and Fish,” Prenzlow said. “I understand this work impacts them and wildlife don’t understand where our dividing boundaries are.”  

“The newly collared wolf is a four-year-old male weighing approximately 110 pounds,” said Brian Dreher, terrestrial section manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “The wolf was given a health exam during the collaring process and appears to be in good health.” 

In Colorado, gray wolves remain a state endangered species, and may not be taken for any reason other than self-defense.

Colorado voters approved a ballot measure in November 2020 that instructs the CPW Commission to prepare a plan and reintroduce wolves to western Colorado. CPW said its plan is to reintroduce gray wolves to the western part of the state by 2023.