Incident marks first reported attack on livestock in state since 10 gray wolves were released in December.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

April 4, 2024

2 Min Read

On the morning of April 2, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) received a report of a possible depredation incident after a landowner in Grand County contacted officers to report a dead calf. CPW wildlife officers quickly responded, conducted a field investigation, and confirmed a wolf-livestock depredation had occurred. The incident marks the first reported attack on livestock in Colorado since 10 gray wolves were taken from Oregon and released in Colorado in December.

“The results of this investigation indicated wounds consistent with wolf depredation,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jeromy Huntington. “The field investigation found multiple tooth rake marks on the calf's hindquarters and neck, and hemorrhaging under the hide, consistent with wolf depredation. Wolf tracks were also found nearby.”

The livestock producer will be eligible for fair market value compensation if a claim is submitted. CPW provides reimbursement for damages caused by gray wolves to livestock defined in C.R.S. 33-2-105.8 and animals used for guard/herding purposes and may provide conflict minimization materials under its Gray Wolf Compensation and Conflict Minimization Program.

CPW may not release private landowner information, and the landowner also requested not to be contacted.

CPW said staff will continue contacting producers in the area and encouraging the use of appropriate non-lethal deterrents available through the agency.

Colorado Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) released a statement saying the incident “underscores the ongoing challenges faced by ranchers in managing conflicts between livestock and wildlife.”

“Wolf presence presents significant challenges for ranchers striving to maintain the health and well-being of their livestock,” CCA said, adding that it remains committed to advocating for policies and practices that support the livelihoods of Colorado's ranchers.

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, a wolf advocacy group, said in a social media post that it was saddened to share the “unfortunate” news but noted that compensation, conflict minimization tools and technical assistance are available to producers.

“As with other large carnivores, some livestock-carnivore conflict is inevitable, and some can be prevented or minimized,” the group said.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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