State wildlife officials say the first Gray Cubs since the 1940s have been spotted in Colorado

DENVER – Colorado has its first litter of Gray Cubs since the 1940s, wildlife officials said on Wednesday.

A state biologist and district wildlife official each spotted the litter of at least three Cubs over the weekend with their parents, two adult wolves known to live in the state, the governor said. Jared Polis in a press release. Most wolf litters have four to six pups, so there could be more.

The discovery comes after Colorado voters narrowly approved a voting measure last year that requires the state to reintroduce the animal to public lands in the western state by the end of 2023 .

Gray wolves lost their federal protection status as an endangered species earlier this year. But they remain protected at the state level, and hunting animals in Colorado is illegal. Penalties for violations include fines, jail time and loss of hunting license privileges.

“These puppies will have a lot of potential mates when they grow up to have a family of their own,” Polis said in a statement.

Gray wolves were hunted, trapped and poisoned until extermination in Colorado in the 1940s.

Authorities last year confirmed the presence of a small wolf pack in northwest Colorado after a number of sightings since 2019. The animals are believed to have descended from Yellowstone National Park, in the Wyoming.

Opponents of the reintroduction initiative said the presence of wolves in Colorado showed the reintroduction of animals was unnecessary because they could eventually repopulate the state naturally. Cattle ranchers, elk hunters, farmers, and others in rural areas argue that the reintroduction of the wolf is bad policy led by urban majorities along Colorado’s waterfront – and a threat to it. cattle and for a billion dollar hunting industry.

Wildlife advocates see the reintroduction into Colorado as a vital step in faster restoring the wolf to its habitat stretching from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. Wolves were reintroduced to the Northern Rockies in the 1990s, and some 3,000 of them now roam parts of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California from North.

A remaining population in the western Great Lakes region has grown to approximately 4,400 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

A small population of Mexican gray wolves remains protected in the southwest, where federal wildlife managers announced this week that they had placed a record number of 22 captive-born wolf cubs in dens in the wild to be reared by surrogate packs.

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