Wildlife officers locate and bond gray wolf cub in North Park

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) placed a GPS collar on a female wolf in North Park, Colorado on Wednesday, February 9. The collared pup will be identified as 2202. The first two digits (22) indicate the year the animal was captured. The second set of numbers tells biologists the sex of the wolf (males will have odd numbers, females will have even numbers) and the order in which it was tied.

The pup is one of six produced by female wolf F1084 and male wolf 2101 in 2021, meaning the newly bonded pup is one of eight wolves in the North Park area. F1084 is known to have migrated to Colorado from the Snake River Pack in Wyoming from a previously fitted collar. This collar had stopped transmitting, leading to the decision to fit a GPS collar to another pack member.

“The second GPS collar in this pack will allow our wildlife biologists and managers to learn more about the behavior of these naturally migratory wolves,” said CPW Director Dan Prenzlow.

During the collaring effort, a CPW-contracted company launched the animal safely with a tranquilizer from a helicopter, allowing field personnel to collar the animal in the field. 2202 is the first gray wolf born and collared in Colorado.

“The wolf cub underwent a health screening during the collaring process and appears to be in good health,” said CPW Land Section Manager Brian Dreher.

It should be noted that while collars provide valuable information, they only provide a snapshot and are not monitored in real time. The main tools used by wildlife officers are field observations of physical evidence such as wolf tracks and droppings during field investigations to verify the presence of wolves in the landscape.

CPW also encourages the public to use its wolf sighting form if they see a suspicious wolf. Any personal sightings, photos, or videos can help inform CPW staff and fill in the gaps about wolf activity in the state.

Gray wolves remain a state endangered species and wolves cannot be captured for any reason other than human self-defense. Illegal capture of a wolf can result in a combination of penalties, including fines of up to $100,000, one year in jail, and lifetime loss of hunting license privileges.

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Elizabeth J. Harless