On Monday, December 18, 2023, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) experts released five gray wolves onto public land in Grand County in a historic effort to create a permanent, self-sustaining wolf population and fulfill voter approval to re-establish gray wolves in Colorado.
The gray wolves were captured in Oregon where CPW veterinarians and biologists evaluated them to determine if they were fit for relocation to Colorado. Criteria for release included the age, sex, health and body condition of each animal.
Each gray wolf was weighed and measured. Staff collected genetic material – tissue and blood samples – before fitting each with a GPS satellite collar for tracking upon release by CPW staff. Then, the wolves were given vaccines and were placed in crates and flown to Colorado for release back into the wild.
Meet Colorado’s new wolves:
2302-OR: Juvenile female, black color, 68 lbs., Five Points Pack
2303-OR: Juvenile male, gray color, 76 lbs. Five Points Pack
2304-OR: Juvenile female, gray color, 76 lbs., Noregaard Pack
2305-OR: Juvenile male, gray color, 93 lbs., Noregaard Pack
2307-OR: Adult male, black color, 108 lbs., Wenaha Pack
Note: All wolves captured, collared and released in Colorado will use the same naming convention: The first two numbers (23) will indicate the year the animal was captured. The second set of numbers informs biologists of the wolf’s gender (males will have odd numbers, females will have even) and the order in which it was collared. *The “OR” suffix indicates the wolves came from Oregon.
CPW will repeat the process until at least 10 – 15 wolves have been reintroduced in Colorado by mid-March 2024. As outlined in the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, CPW hopes to release 30 to 50 wolves over the next 3 – 5 years using wolves captured from nearby northern Rockies states from several different packs by trapping and darting them in the winter.