Wolves in northern Colorado killed a domestic border collie and injured another, marking the second wolf kill in the area in less than a month, state Parks and Wildlife officials confirmed.
Wildlife managers received a report early Sunday that a dog carcass had been found and another dog was injured on a Jackson County ranch, just south of the Wyoming border, said Parks and Wildlife spokesman Travis Duncan.
Wolf tracks were found near the dog’s body and the other dog’s injuries were consistent with a wolf attack, Wildlife Manager Kris Middledorf confirmed.
The collies were working dogs, used to herd animals on the property, Duncan said. State officials will reimburse the rancher for the loss.
In December, wolves killed a calf on another Jackson County ranch, near North Park, not far from the most recent kill. Both kills follow the contentious passage of a statewide ballot measure to reintroduce gray wolves into Colorado’s forests.
The wolves currently living in northern Colorado moved there on their own. State officials have not yet released any wolves back into the wild, though the ballot measure, Proposition 114, gives them until Dec. 31, 2023, to do so.
Sarah Dideriksen, of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, said she is following news of the second kill, which raises additional questions about the state’s plan to reintroduce wolves. She called for more information from those officials on wolf behavior, how pets might interact with the wild animals and what else to expect in the reintroduction process.
After the first kill in December, representatives with the Cattlemen’s Association and the ranchers who lost their calf called for a lethal option to be included in the reintroduction process.
Wolves will likely kill more livestock, the ranchers said, and people should be able to protect their property with lethal force, if necessary.
Wolf experts and advocates call the idea of killing wolves absurd. The animals are listed by the state as an endangered species and they’re an important part of the ecosystem, said one expert, Michael Robinson, of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Duncan said state officials are still formalizing a process for how to handle additional damage caused by wolves.
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