Wolves at the door

The trek of a young female wolf from the Yellowstone National Park area in northwestern Wyoming to Eagle County, Colorado, is an amazing odyssey, regardless of how one feels about the prospect of wolves returning to this state.

Because she wears a collar with a GPS tracking device, biologists were able to trace the travels of the wolf identified as 314F from the time she left her pack last September until she arrived in Colorado two weeks ago.

She wandered through Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger Teton National Forest to southwestern Wyoming. Then she trotted into southeastern Idaho and northeastern Utah, before crossing into this state.

She has been most recently in Eagle County. However, without any other wolves there for companionship or mating, biologists don’t believe she’ll take up residence here.

Even so, 314F represents what could be the future for Colorado: more immigrants from the growing wolf populations in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

Wolf 314F is the second known member of the Yellowstone-area wolf packs to make it to Colorado. The first, also a young female, was killed on Interstate 70 near Idaho Springs almost five years ago. It seems only a matter of time before others will arrive here, perhaps eventually a mating pair.

Meanwhile, on the Front Range, residents are dealing with the attack of confrontational coyotes. Each day seems to bring new reports of conflicts between coyotes and humans or their pets. On several occasions, coyotes have bitten people.

The coyote confrontations may diminish the enthusiasm that many people on the Front Range once had for artificially reintroducing wolves into Colorado. Reintroduction is an idea still pushed by some environmental groups, however.

For our part, we believe the wolf policy adopted by Colorado in 2004 remains appropriate:

Don’t physically reintroduce wolves to the state. But if they arrive on their own — as 314F did — allow them to reside here and move about freely. And have a plan to deal with them if they become a threat to humans or livestock.


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