According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, two wolf sighting investigations are currently underway in Colorado. One wolf was reportedly spotted in Jackson County, found in northern Colorado along the Wyoming state line, and the other wolf was reportedly spotted in Grand County, which is located directly to the south of Jackson County. The specific type of wolf that may have been spotted was referred to as a gray wolf.
Publicity has been brought to the sightings by Governor Jared Polis, who posted an image from one sighting on Facebook.
According to Polis, many reports of wolves near the northern border of Colorado are received, though rarely are the animals photographed. According to Polis, “the gray wolf is gradually returning to its historic homeland in Colorado from areas with healthy wolf populations including Montana and Wyoming.”
Whether or not wolves should be formally reintroduced into Colorado is a topic of controversy in the Centennial State with avid supporters on each side of the debate.
One group – Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund – has started collecting signatures to add a wolf reintroduction ballot item in 2020, with the goal of starting reintroduction by 2023 in the form of 20-30 wolves on the Western Slope. They believe that the reintroduction will help to restore ecosystem balance.
On the other side of the debate is the concern for what reintroduction would mean for livestock and big game. Farmers fear for their cattle and hunters fear for prey species like elk and deer.
Statewide, it’s estimated that 67% of voters are in favor for reintroduction.
While reintroduction is still years off, even if the ballot item is added and passed, there are several places around the state were you can get up-close and personal with wolves being cared for in captivity. One spot that’s free (donations accepted) is the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Foundation near Guffey, Colorado, where you’re able to interact with the wolves during a tour of their rescue facility. If you’re not close to Guffey, there are several other places with their own unique wolf-interaction experiences.