Happy news arrived from Colorado this week as Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced that two wolves, John M2101 and Jane F1084, had been spotted with multiple pups. The gray wolves and their offspring were first sighted by a wildlife biologist and CPW district wildlife manager. The good news follows the decision to reintroduce gray wolves to the state just last year.
To gain further confirmation, CPW staff conducted three separate observations to see what was happening at the den from a safe distance. This confirmed the presence of the collared wolves John and Jane, who were joined by three pups. The true pack size remains to be seen, however, as it’s possible there may be more that have not yet been spotted. Gray wolf litters usually contain around four to six pups, so fingers crossed for some bumper floof news, everybody.
“Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s,” said Governor Jared Polis in a statement. “We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado. With voter passage last year of the initiative to require re-introduction of the wolf by the end of 2023, these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families.”
When it comes to sighting pups, the staff at CPW are a dab hand, and despite viewing the litter from a considerable distance have seen a lot of movement among Jack, Jill, and their pups in the brief observation windows. As the pups get older, they will begin to venture further from the den which will be a boon for the onsite biologists, who alongside CPW staff will work with surrounding landowners to try and minimize the likelihood of human-wolf conflict.
“It’s incredible that these two adult animals have traveled the distance and overcome the challenges they have to get here, and to now have pups in Colorado,” said Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager for CPW in a statement. “It’s our priority to ensure that they have the chance to thrive, so even as we have exciting news, we want to remind everyone that these animals remain endangered in Colorado.”
The status is backed up by law in the western state, where killing an endangered species can result in the removal of hunting privileges, a fine of $100,000, and even jail time. It’s also prohibited to harass wildlife in the state – but with acute hearing and excellent eyesight, leaving these elusive animals be should be easy enough if you don’t go looking for them.
To find out more about Colorado’s gray wolves, click here.