Wolf poisoned with 1080 near Rio Blanco
A female gray wolf found dead near Rio Blanco in March 2009, after wandering about 1,000 miles from the Yellowstone region, was poisoned, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday the wolf was killed by Compound 1080, a poison illegal in Colorado but legally used elsewhere in collars worn by sheep and goats as protection against coyotes.
The agency is asking for public assistance in the case.
Compound 1080, officially called sodium fluoroacetate, was commonly used as a low-cost and effective predator-control poison until 1972, when it was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
However, after litigation, the government approved and closely restricted the so-called toxic-collar in 1985.
The collars are not allowed in Colorado.
Gray wolves are protected in Colorado under the Endangered Species Act and anyone knowingly killing a wolf may face a $100,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
The wolf, known by her research number 341F, was an 18-month-old female from the Mill Creek pack in Montana.
She was tracked using a radio collar she wore as part of an effort to improve wolf-monitoring techniques.
Researchers say her collar indicated she broke from her pack and wandered about 1,000 miles before reaching northwest Colorado.
This was the second Yellowstone wolf found dead in Colorado. In 2004, a yearling female wolf apparently hit by a vehicle was found dead next to Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs.
A video taken in 2006 near Walden reportedly shows what appears to be a black wolf, but nothing conclusive was found.
Gray wolves were eliminated from Colorado by the late 1930s. Prior to 2004, the last known wolf or wolf-hybrid was killed in Colorado by a government trapper in 1943.
Colorado law allows gray wolves to move freely around the state unless there are conflicts with humans or livestock.