MOFFAT COUNTY, Colo. -- Parks and Wildlife says that eyewitness accounts plus a scavenged elk carcass near the reported sighting indicates the likely presence of multiple wolves in northwest Colorado.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region believes there is strong evidence to suggest that a pack of gray wolves is living in the area, according to a release from CPW Wednesday.
The eyewitness told CPW that he and his hunting party saw the wolves near the Wyoming and Utah borders, and one of the party caught a couple of the animals on video.
"The sighting marks the first time in recent history CPW has received a report of multiple wolves traveling together," said CPW Northwest Regional Manager JT Romatzke in a statement. "In addition, in the days prior, the eyewitness says he heard distinct howls coming from different animals. In my opinion, this is a very credible report."
Last week, an elk carcass was discovered near Irish Canyon -- only a few miles from the reported sighting -- which bolstered CPW's opinion that wolves are back.
The condition of the carcass "is consistent with known wolf predation," said CPW in the release. Additionally, wildlife officials found canid tracks consistent with wolves from multiple animals around the carcass.
"The latest sightings add to other credible reports of wolf activity in Colorado over the past several years," said Romatzke. "In addition to tracks, howls, photos and videos, the presence of one wolf was confirmed by DNA testing a few years ago, and in a recent case, we have photos and continue to track a wolf with a collar from Wyoming’s Snake River pack.
Romatzke says from the evidence, there is only one logical conclusion CPW officials can make, according to the release.
"It is inevitable, based on known wolf behavior, that they would travel here from states where their populations are well-established," he said. "We have no doubt that they are here, and the most recent sighting of what appears to be wolves traveling together in what can be best described as a pack is further evidence of the presence of wolves in Colorado."
"We want to remind the public that wolves are federally endangered species and fall under the jurisdiction of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. As wolves move into the state on their own, we will work with our federal partners to manage the species," he said.