PARK COUNTY, Colo. — Wolves have not been spotted in Park County, despite what a video on the internet might claim.
A video posted to YouTube early this week got the attention of the Park County Sheriff’s Office. It warned of a possible wolf sighting near Highway 285 and County Road 5.
The pack of four-legged animals seen running in the video, however, is in fact a group of St. Bernards (which makes this all significantly less terrifying and arguably more hilarious).
The video was taken from a distance. Park County Sheriff Tom McGraw understands how someone could have mistaken the dogs for wolves, but told Next with Kyle Clark he knew exactly what the animals were when he saw the video.
A woman living in the area has 10 dogs, most of which are St. Bernard mixes, that have a habit of escaping. McGraw said they tend to dig under the fence surrounding her property before running loose. In this case, five of these escapees convinced the onlooker they were wolves.
It was enough for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to investigate. CPW flew the area and confirmed they could not find evidence of wolves or injured or dead elk.
Last month, the sheriff’s office wrote a warning for the dogs’ owner. Just this past Saturday, they fined her $200 for some of the dogs getting out again.
When McGraw called the owner on Monday, she admitted the dogs got loose once more. He opted not to fine her this time, but said he will if this continues.
Colorado voters agreed in 2020 to reintroduce wolves in the state, though wolves have found their way across the border on their own, according to CPW.
"A lone wolf, F1084, [took] up residence in the state in July 2019. This animal was collared as part of Wyoming Game and Fish monitoring efforts. In 2020, a pack of wolves was identified in the Northwest part of the state. In 2021, a second lone wolf joined F1084; this wolf was collared by CPW and is identified as 2101. In June 2021, CPW biologists visually confirmed three pups with F1084 and 2101, marking the first known breeding pair in the state in several decades," their website says.
The wolf pair has had more pups since that post, as they are now parents to six. In February, CPW collared and tagged one of the female pups, now identified as 2202. She was the first wolf to be born and collared in Colorado.
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