Wolf depredation investigation possible after dead calves found in Meeker


MEEKER, Colo. (KDVR) – Wildlife officials are investigating suspected cases of wolves killing livestock.

Suspected wolf depredation near Meeker

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said its officers are investigating a possible incident of wolf depredation on White River National Forest lands near Meeker.

Wildlife officers are working closely with the cattle rancher to determine if the dead domestic calves that have been found were killed by wolves, but said the deaths ‘show damage consistent with wolf depredation’ .

Wildlife investigators collected evidence in the area and were looking for tracks and skids around the incident site.

“If the depredations are confirmed to have been caused by wolves, CPW will work in partnership with the breeder to implement approved hazing methods and respond to any damage claims submitted,” CPW said in a statement.

The reintroduction of the wolf has yet to occur in the state, and CPW said the incident “is not related to or the result of wolf reintroduction efforts in Colorado.”

CPW officers have been trained with Wyoming Game and Fish on wolf depredation to help them investigate incidents that occur in Colorado, and they are also trained on other depredations involving animals.

Wildlife officers work with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and other wildlife management agencies to better understand wolf depredations and learn how to determine if an incident was caused by a wolf.

The department has created an educational guide for livestock owners to better understand wolf depredation and how to prevent it.

Wolves suspected of attacking a calf in Jackson County

CPW officers received a report Sunday of two injured calves, each weighing between 110 and 150 pounds, near Pole Mountain in Jackson County on private land. One calf has since died and the other is still alive but sustained significant injuries. The CPW said the investigation by wildlife officers indicates that the damage to the calves was caused by wolves.

CPW’s Travis Duncan told FOX31’s Alex Rose that the cattle owner will be compensated for the loss and the owners will be fairly compensated for their losses.

“Compensation varies by type, age and weight of livestock and is further listed in CPW Chapter 17 regulations,” Duncan said.

Video shot in Jackson County obtained by FOX31 in the player above shows a pack of wolves crossing a rural road, so there is evidence of their presence in the county.

Previous surveys of wolf depredation

In mid-March, CPW officers responded to reports of an attack on a domesticated cow in North Park and found wolf tracks and injuries to the animal consistent with wolf depredation.

A veterinarian with CPW examined the cow’s injuries and decided that euthanasia was the appropriate course of action.

Travis Duncan, a CPW representative, told Steamboat Radio News after the attack that it was not the result of the reintroduction program, but rather the result of the migratory patterns of wolves passing through the state.

In late December 2021 and early January this year, a rancher lost three cows, prompting CPW to enact emergency hazing regulations to combat wolf depredation.

The rancher told CPW that wolves were seen on the property’s game camera the week that two cows were seriously injured, in which case one had to be put down. On another day of the week, a calf was found dead from an apparent attack.


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