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Genetics tests confirm wolves' presence in Colorado

Colorado Parks and Wildlife said scat samples are the first official documentation of a pack of wolves in the state since the 1940s.

MOFFAT COUNTY, Colo. — A genetics lab confirmed four scat samples collected in Colorado in January came from wolves, the first official documentation of a pack in the state since the 1940s, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

The scat samples were collected near a scavenged elk carcass in Moffat County, and indicated three of the wolves are female and the fourth is male.

The DNA tests also determined that the wolves are not only related, but likely full siblings.

> The video above first aired Jan. 26 and looks at a bill to introduce wolves back in the state.

“The DNA doesn’t tell us the age,” said CPW Species Conservation Program Manager Eric Odell. “We don’t know where or when they were born. We can’t say. But that there are closely related wolves is a pretty significant finding.”

Odell said that sightings of up to six wolves have been reportedly previously.

"Just because we only collected four scat samples doesn’t mean there were only four animals," he said.

CPW officials said they are still waiting to receive test results from scat samples collected at a potential wolf sighting in Moffat County on January 19.

Anyone who finds any evidence of wolves is urged to to contact CPW immediately. The Wolf Sighting Form can be found on CPW's website.

Wolves are a federally endangered species, and killing one can lead to federal charges that include a $100,000 fine and a year in prison per offense.

A proposed initiative to bring gray wolves back to Colorado has officially qualified for inclusion on the November ballot. 

If passed, the initiative would force CPW to come up with a plan to reintroduce wolves to the Western Slope by 2023.

RELATED: Gray wolf reintroduction bill introduced in state Senate

RELATED: CPW confirms wolf pack sighting in northwest Colorado

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