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Additional wolf deterrent funding and an updated Wolf Activity Map released

Jun 28, 2024

The Fence Post staff report

The Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are providing additional funding to the Middle Park Stockgrowers Association to continue supporting their community efforts of on-the-ground non-lethal predator deterrents. 

CDA is extending the agreement with MPSG and, through collaboration with CPW, adding an additional $28,000 to support the association’s non-lethal deterrents plan, which includes a night time range rider to prevent wolf conflicts. 

“We commend the many producers who are putting in the hard work of reducing predator conflict using non-lethal tools,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “There are resources available to producers, and CDA and CPW remain committed to not only deploying those resources quickly, but making sure they fit the needs of each agricultural community we serve. This additional funding for the Middle Park Stockgrowers has emerged through much collaboration with Middle Park. It will allow their community to continue implementing non-lethal practices, such as range riding. These tools are working. The more we work together to put different non-lethal techniques on the landscape, the more tools we’ll have to reduce conflict and ensure resilient ranches well into the future.”

Funding for these non-lethal conflict mitigation tools comes from CPW’s wolf depredation and conflict fund, and no license dollars were allocated for these range riders and other tools.

“We are grateful for our continued partnership with CDA, Middle Park Stockgrowers, and our agriculture communities across Colorado as we continue to restore this species,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “This additional funding will help producers in Middle Park and surrounding communities ensure they have the non-lethal tools in their conflict mitigation toolbox to protect their livestock and minimize conflict with wolves.”

This funding builds on $20,000 that the Polis Administration has already awarded the Middle Park Stockgrowers to fund non-lethal deterrents, supporting our ranchers.

“We were not prepared for the negative impacts that are happening, but the producers are having ongoing discussions about solutions with CDA and CPW,” said Tim Ritschard, president of Middle Park Stockgrowers Association. “We appreciate the assistance, this is an important first step in our partnership as we continue to work together through this process.”

In addition to the continued support of the Middle Park community, CDA has been working with ranchers in other communities to implement non-lethal deterrents to ensure they are prepared for any future wolf activity. 

“We continue to stand alongside Colorado’s agricultural communities, regardless of whether they have experienced wolf-related impacts, so those communities can implement operational changes, trainings and workshops, understand the suite of tools CDA and CPW have available, and put other non-lethal tools on the ground that support resilient ranching and livestock production,” said Commissioner Greenberg. “Additionally, CDA has hired a manager for the non-lethal Conflict Reduction Program who will help bring resources and education about wolves and non-lethal conflict reduction to ag communities across the state.”

CDA has hired Dustin Shiflett to manage the Non-lethal Conflict Reduction Program in the Animal Health Division. Shiflett has been working in the agricultural and conservation arenas for nearly two decades, including 16 years at CPW and approximately a year at CDA in the Conservation Division. Shiflett will be hiring two additional employees for CDA’s program to work directly with producers. CDA staffers will work with communities where wolves have been spotted as well as ag communities that have not yet had wolves present. 

Understanding the need for additional staffing resources to help producers identify potential conflict mitigation tools that will work for them, CPW has added five additional Damage Conflict Mitigation Specialists. These five new staff members will assist Adam Baca, Wolf Conflict Coordinator, expand the current wolf conflict mitigation program and assist in any depredation investigations.

Through a memorandum of understanding, CDA is working closely with CPW to anticipate and prepare for predator and livestock incidents. This includes help and education around non-lethal deterrence methods, such as range riders or the use of fladry.

Additionally, livestock producers who are affected by depredations and submit a claim may be eligible for the fair market value of livestock lost to wolf depredation. CPW’s dedicated Wolf Depredation Compensation cash fund has $175,000, provided from the state’s General Fund, in its balance and will receive $350,000 additional General Funds per fiscal year to keep a healthy balance in the fund on an ongoing basis.

According to CPW, two of the 10 collars placed on wolves translocated in December are no longer providing signals to CPW biologists. This includes the collar that failed in March and an additional collar that was partially functional in March but has since failed. The animals with the failed collars are traveling with other animals with functional collars, which currently allows CPW to monitor those animals.  

Wolf 2303-OR was found deceased on April 18, 2024, in Larimer County. The initial necropsy report found the cause of death was trauma, consistent with predation by a mountain lion. The full necropsy was performed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will release the final report upon completion. ​Wolves remain above I-70 even though the two watershed areas highlighted are slightly below the I-70 highway line.

On June 18, 2024, CPW​ biologists confirmed at least one wolf pup in Grand County. Because two wolves have bred, they are now officially considered a pack and called the Copper Creek Pack.

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