Wolves attack more cows on North Park ranch in Jackson County | SummitDaily.com

Wolves attack more cows on North Park ranch in Jackson County

Dylan Anderson
Steamboat Pilot & Today
A gray wolf is pictured at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minnesota, in July 2004.
Dawn Villella/The Associated Press archive

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A ranch near Walden in North Park is dealing with its second wolf attack in as many months, Colorado Park and Wildlife officials confirmed.

Early Tuesday, Jan. 18, a pack of six wolves were reportedly seen on the ranch in Jackson County, and Park and Wildlife district managers responded to investigate. The investigation revealed two cows that were injured, one of which was euthanized because of its injuries.

“The results of this investigations indicated wolf tracks and scat in the immediate vicinity of the injured cows and wounds on both cows consistent with wolf depredation,” Park and Wildlife spokesperson Travis Duncan said in a statement.

This is the third attack reported and confirmed by wildlife officers since December, when the same Gittleson Ranch east of Walden had a 500-pound heifer killed by wolves. Last week, wolves attacked two dogs on a nearby ranch, killing one of them.

Colorado voters narrowly approved the reintroduction of wolves in the state on the 2020 ballot. Two groups and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission have been working to craft the plan to reestablish the predators. The ballot measure required wolves be reintroduced by the end of 2023.

Duncan noted that the wolves carrying out these attacks are not animals the state has reintroduced but rather some that have migrated from Wyoming. Wildlife officers observed a pair of migrated wolves with pups last year, and they are believed to be the first wolves born in the state in decades.

Last week, the Park and Wildlife Commission approved new rules to allow ranchers to haze wolves with nonlethal means — like rubber bullets, guard animals and other deterrents, such as fladry — in order to protect livestock. These rules were put into effect immediately, with the commission passing them as emergency regulations due to predation incidents.

“This incident is not related to or a result of wolf reintroduction,” Duncan said. “It’s also worth noting that the state has an existing depredation reimbursement fund for predation by other species.”

Though generally used when mountain lions or bears attack livestock, the fund is being used to reimburse livestock owners for these recent predation events, as well.

The Technical Working Group and Stakeholder Advisory Group are currently looking at what the compensation program will look like for depredation under the reintroduction plan.

The stakeholder group has several hours planned to discuss compensation and risk reduction plans at its Jan. 26-27 meeting.

“Depredation compensation is required by statute, and the final Colorado compensation plan will be part of the overall gray wolf reintroduction,” Duncan said.

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