First known wolf litter spotted in northwest Colorado since 1940s

After nearly 80 years without a new wolf litter, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced that three wolf pups were spotted in Steamboat Springs.

CPW believes the litter belongs to wolves M2101 and F1084, dubbed John and Jane. Though only three pups have been seen, there may be more, as litters are typically made up of four to six pups.

“Colorado is now home to our first wolf litter since the 1940s,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a news release. “We welcome this historic den and the new wolf family to Colorado.”

With the passage of Proposition 114 last year, gray wolves will be reintroduced by the end of 2023 giving these new pups potential mates, Polis said.

CPW will continue to observe the den site from a distance of about two miles. The staff has made three observations of the pups during both dawn and dusk.

“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,” said CPW wildlife biologist Libbie Miller in a news release.

Area wildlife manager Kris Middledorf said that it is the agency’s responsibility to create a space for the wolves and pups to continue to prosper.

“Even as we have exciting news, we want to remind everyone that these animals remain endangered in Colorado,” Middledorf said in the release.

A $100,000 fine, jail time and a loss of hunting privileges are all consequences of killing a gray wolf, a Colorado endangered species. Harassment of wildlife could also result in fines.

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