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Colorado Parks and Wildlife reports possible wolf sighting in Larimer County

If the sighting is confirmed, it would be the farthest east a wolf has been spotted in Colorado in nearly a century.

COLORADO, USA — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said it is seeing an increase in wolf sightings or possible wolf sightings -- and one report came from Larimer County. 

According to a release from CPW, an increase in outdoor recreation has led to more people reporting wolf sightings lately. 

“Public reporting vastly increases our ability to know what’s happening across the state,” CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said in the release. “While not all reports end up being verified as wolves, we make every effort to investigate credible sightings through on-the-ground investigations, biological sampling and deploying a variety of survey techniques.”   

CPW said there are several known and some additional credible reports of potential wolves in Colorado.

One of them, a male wolf known as "1084M" that was first confirmed in North Park in Jackson County almost a year ago, continues to live in that area, according to the release. CPW said pilots regularly fly the area to keep track of the wolf's movements, and wildlife managers conduct ground surveillance and communicate regularly with private landowners in the area.

CPW said wildlife managers are trying to confirm a credible wolf sighting in the Laramie River Valley in Larimer County. An animal sighted in the area was wearing a wildlife tracking collar, which CPW said indicates it likely comes from a monitored pack in Montana or Wyoming. Flights and ground crews have yet to confirm the wolf's presence there. CPW said they do know it's not wolf 1084M.

Two groups of campers in Grand County the weekend of June 6 and 7 spotted a large wolf-life animal near their camps, CPW said. Wildlife officers and biologists responded to the area to gather biological evidence that could be used to confirm it was a wolf rather than a coyote, a lost or escaped domestic dog or a domestic wolf hybrid. CPW said approaching humans the way that animal did is atypical wolf behavior, so additional work will be needed to confirm its identity.

CPW said it continues to monitor the state's first known pack of wolves since the 1930s in Moffat County, in the northwest corner of the state. As many as six wolves have been confirmed in several previous sightings. A lone wolf was seen feeding on an elk carcass in that area, but it's unknown if it's actually a member of the known pack.

CPW is also reporting that biologists and veterinarians have analyzed feces samples and determined that several members of the pack in northwest Colorado are positive for eggs of the tapeworm Echinococcus canadensis, which can lead to hydatid disease in some animals. Those tapeworms have been found in wolves in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. CPW said it is increasing monitoring for hydatid disease including collecting and analyzing coyote feces to establish baseline data.

RELATED: 6 wolves seen in northwest Colorado

RELATED: Genetics tests confirm wolves' presence in Colorado

CPW said wolves in Colorado are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and that they are a federally endangered species. Killing a wolf in Colorado is a federal crime and can be punishable with up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

CPW has put together a frequently asked questions document for people who are curious about wolves.

People who see or hear wolves in Colorado are encouraged to complete an online wolf-sighting form or report it to the nearest CPW office.

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