The 10 wolves released in Colorado last month and two wolves from a pack that migrated here from Wyoming have remained in the central and northern mountains, according to a map showing the general locations of the animals released Wednesday by state wildlife officials.
The map shows that between Dec. 18 and Jan. 22, wolves have roamed in watersheds that cross Jackson, Routt, Eagle, Summit and Grand counties. The region is more than 60 miles wide and runs more than 120 miles from north to south.
But there are caveats to the map. Colorado Parks and Wildlife decided to use watersheds as the base geographic unit instead of counties because wolves use geographic features to navigate, not political boundaries. The agency will not release specific locations of the wolves to protect the animals from people.
If a watershed is included on the map, that means at least one wolf entered that area over the last month. The wolf may or may not remain there and may not have entered every part of that watershed.
For example, land south of Interstate 70 is included in the map released Wednesday but no wolves have crossed south of the interstate. Instead, wolves have been in watersheds that include land south of the interstate.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife does not have access to the real-time locations of the wolves.
All 12 wolves known to be in Colorado — the 10 released last month and the two from the pack that came from Wyoming — have collars that record a position every four hours.
Once a collar records four locations, those locations are transmitted via satellite to Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists. Transmission can be delayed by weather, terrain or other factors.
Wolf pups born to reintroduced wolves will not be collared.
“It should be expected that through immigration from other states and natural reproduction of pups, the proportion of wolves that have collars will be reduced over time,” wildlife officials said in a news release Wednesday. “Therefore, the accuracy of this map will be diminished over time as the activity of uncollared wolves may not be included in this map.”
The agency will release a new map showing wolves’ general locations on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
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