Wildlife officials have captured and collared a lone male wolf near North Park in north-central Colorado to study the travel patterns of wolves coming into the state.
Contractors for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife chased the 4-year-old wolf into Wyoming, where they were able to subdue it and affix a tracking collar, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.
The department confirmed the capture on Tuesday and issued a statement saying state crews will use signals from the collar to learn about where wolves entering Colorado travel.
Park Director Dan Prenzlow said the advanced GPS collar “will allow us to get a much better understanding of the animal’s movement, range and behaviors.”
The 110-pound (50-kilogram) gray wolf, called M2101, was seen by state staffers from the air roaming with another lone male wolf, M1084, which came to Colorado from Wyoming in 2019, officials said.
Gray wolves were hunted, trapped and poisoned into extermination in Colorado in the 1940s. In November, Colorado voters narrowly approved a ballot measure that requires that the state to reintroduce the animal on public lands in the western part of the state by the end of 2023.
Officials last year confirmed the presence of a small pack of wolves in northwestern Colorado, and Gov. Jared Polis publicly declared wolves are welcome back in the state.
Cattle ranchers, elk hunters, farmers and others in rural areas have said the reintroduction of wolves is bad policy driven by urban majorities along Colorado’s Front Range.
Gray wolves in Colorado are listed as a state endangered species and may not be killed for any reason other than self-defense, state officials said. Penalties for violations include fines, jail time and a loss of hunting license privileges.