DENVER -- Wolves have returned to Colorado. Wildlife officials said in January they believed a pack of gray wolves was roaming the northwest part of the state, and later confirmed that theory with a DNA test in February.
Now with the warmer weather, as more people recreate outdoors, Colorado Parks and Wildlife says potential wolf sightings have been increasing.
In Grand County, two groups of campers told CPW they spotted a wolf-like animal the first week of June. In the Laramie River Valley, a wolf was reported seen wearing a collar, suggesting that it was from a known Montana or Wyoming pack. CPW is still working to confirm that sighting, but officials they have determined it's a different animal from the lone male spotted in Jackson County one year ago. The Jackson County sighting was confirmed to be a dispersing wolf from a Wyoming pack.
Wildlife officials are continuing to monitor the northwest Colorado pack that first came on the radar back in January. CPW says it's the first confirmed pack in the state since the 1930s.
While the wolves are settling in to Colorado, it seems they've brought ailments with them. CPW biologists are now monitoring the northwest pack for a tapeworm parasite after several feces samples tested positive. This tapeworm, Echinoccus canadensis, has been found in wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. It's been known to lead to hydatid disease in both wild and domestic animals. CPW says it is increasing monitoring for the disease.
CPW is encouraging anyone who sees or hears a wolf to report the sighting here.
And lastly, CPW is reminding residents that killing a wolf in Colorado is a federal crime and can be punishable with up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.