The pair of adult wolves naturally migrated into the state ahead of wolf reintroduction efforts
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) has confirmed the state's first litter of wild wolf pups since the 1940s.
According to a news release from Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' office, multiple pups with a pair of adult wolves have been observed in Jackson County by a state biologist, district wildlife manager, and other agency staff members on several occasions.
Three pups were observed each time, but there could be more, as a typical wolf litter consists of four to six pups.
The litter was born less than a year after a state ballot initiative was narrowly passed to reintroduce wolves into western Colorado by the end of 2023. Wildlife officials say the pups' parents naturally migrated into the state.
In the news release, Polis said reintroduction will help ensure these pups will have plenty of potential mates when they grow up to start their own families.
Not everyone is happy about wolf reintroduction efforts in the state. Ranchers are concerned about predation of livestock, and some hunters worry the wolves will take a toll on Colorado's big game populations, especially deer and elk.
CPW is working with nearby landowners to minimize potential conflict, and is holding education sessions on how the wolves will likely impact livestock and wildlife.
The agency plans to continue monitoring the den site from a safe distance. State biologists said so far, they've only observed the wolves from 2 miles away at dusk and dawn.
State wildlife biologist Libbie Miller said in the release, Our hope is that we will eventually have photos to document this momentous occasion in Colorado's incredible and diverse wildlife history, but not bothering them remains a paramount concern.
Gray wolves remain an endangered species under state law and killing one can result in a $100,000 fine and up to a year in prison.