One of Colorado’s reintroduced wolves was found dead. Investigators say it probably died from natural causes

(Courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife)
State wildlife officials open a cage and release a gray wolf on Dec. 18, 2023 as part of a voter-approved measure that requires the predator’s reintroduction.

One of the wolves released in December as part of a voter-approved reintroduction program was found dead in Larimer County, state and federal wildlife officials confirmed. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was notified about the dead wolf on April 18, according to agency spokesperson Joe Szuszwalak. The agency is still working to determine the cause of death, but a preliminary investigation suggests the wolf likely died of natural causes, Szuszwalak said. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday released an updated map showing where, broadly, Colorado’s tracked wolves roamed from March 26 to April 23. The map includes areas visited at least once by the reintroduced wolves and two other collared wolves, and shows the animals’ territory has moved north and fanned out near the Wyoming border.

The reintroduced wolves have been linked to four separate attacks on livestock at ranches in Grand County and Jackson County. Two calves and four cattle were killed in those attacks, which were all reported in April, state records show. 

Farmers and ranchers can apply for up to $15,000 in reimbursement for livestock or guard and herding animals killed or maimed by wolves. None of the ranchers who reported losses linked to the reintroduced wolf pack have yet submitted claims.

The state plans to release 30 to 50 wolves over the next five years.