Wolves attack more cows on North Park ranch

A ranch near Walden in North Park is dealing with its second wolf attack in as many months, Colorado Park and Wildlife confirmed.

Early Tuesday, Jan. 18, a pack of six wolves were reprtedly seen on the ranch in Jackson County, and CPW district wildlife managers responded to investigate. That revealed two cows that were injured, one of which was euthanized because of injuries.

“The results of this investigations indicated wolf tracks and scat in the immediate vicinity of the injured cows and wounds on both cows consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW spokesperson Travis Duncan in a statement.

This is the third attack reported and confirmed by wildlife officers since December, when the same Gittleson Ranch east of Walden had a 500-pound heifer killed by wolves. Last week, wolves attacked two dogs on a nearby ranch, killing one of them.

Colorado voters narrowly approved the reintroduction of wolves in the state on the 2020 ballot. Two working groups and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission have been working to craft the plan to reestablish the predators. The ballot measure required wolves be reintroduced by the end of 2023.

Duncan noted that the wolves carrying out these attacks are not animals the state has reintroduced but rather some that have migrated down from Wyoming. Wildlife officers observed a pair of migrated wolves with pups last year, believed to be the first born in the state in decades.

Last week, the CPW Commission approved new rules to allow ranchers haze wolves away from livestock with nonlethal means like rubber bullets, guard animals and other deterrents, such as fladry. These rules were put into effect immediately, with the commission passing them as emergency regulations due to predation incidents.

“This incident is not related to or a result of wolf reintroduction,” Duncan said. “It’s also worth noting that the state has an existing depredation reimbursement fund for predation by other species.”

Though generally used when mountain lions or bears attack livestock, the fund is being used to reimburse livestock owners for these recent predation events, as well. The Technical Working Group and Stakeholder Advisory Group are currently looking at what the compensation program will eventually look like for depredations.

The stakeholder group has several hours planned to discuss compensation and risk reduction plans at its Jan. 26 and 27 meeting.

“Depredation compensation is required by statute and the final Colorado compensation plan will be part of the overall grey wolf reintroduction,” Duncan said.

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