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MEEKER, Colo. (KDVR) — Wildlife officials are looking into suspected cases of wolves killing livestock.

Wolf depredation suspected near Meeker

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said its officers are investigating a possible wolf depredation incident on White River National Forest lands near Meeker.

Wildlife officers are working closely with the livestock producer to determine if the dead domestic cow calves that were found were killed by wolves, but said that the deaths “show damage consistent with wolf depredation.”

Wildlife investigators have collected evidence in the area and were looking for tracks and skat around the location of the incident.

“If the depredations are confirmed as being caused by wolves, CPW will work in partnership with the livestock producer to implement approved hazing methods and respond to any damage claims submitted,” CPW said in a statement.

Wolf reintroduction has not yet occurred in the state and CPW said the incident is “not related to or a result of wolf reintroduction efforts in Colorado.”

CPW officers have trained with Wyoming Game and Fish on wolf depredation to help them conduct investigations into incidents that happen in Colorado, and they are also trained in other animal-involved depredations.

Wildlife officers work with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and other wildlife management agencies to better understand wolf depredations and learn how to determine if an incident was caused by a wolf.

The department created an educational guide for livestock owners to get a better understanding of wolf depredations and how to prevent them.

Wolves suspected in Jackson County calf attack

CPW officers received a report on Sunday of two injured calves, each weighing between 110-150 pounds, near Pole Mountain in Jackson County on private land. One calf has since died and the other is still alive but suffered significant injuries. CPW said the investigation conducted by wildlife officers indicate that the damage to the calves was caused by wolves.

CPW’s Travis Duncan told FOX31’s Alex Rose that the livestock owner will be compensated for the loss and that owners are compensated fairly for their losses.

“The compensation varies by type, age and weight of livestock and is further enumerated in CPW chapter 17 regulations,” Duncan said.  

Video shot in Jackson County obtained by FOX31 in the player above shows a pack of wolves crossing a rural road, so there is evidence of their presence in the county.

Previous wolf depredation investigations

In mid-March, CPW officers responded to reports of an attack on a domestic-bred cow in North Park and found wolf tracks and injuries to the animal consistent with wolf depredation.

A veterinarian with CPW examined the cow’s injuries and decided that euthanization was the appropriate measure to take.

Travis Duncan, a representative of CPW, told Steamboat Radio News after the attack that it was not the result of the reintroduction program, but rather the result of migratory patterns from state-crossing wolves.

In late December of 2021 and early January this year, one rancher lost three cows which prompted CPW to pass emergency hazing regulations to combat wolf depredation.

The rancher told CPW that wolves had been seen on the property’s game camera the week two cows were seriously injured, in which case one had to be put down. Another day that week, a calf was found dead by an apparent attack.