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Where killing them is legal, two Colorado wolves are wandering close to the Wyoming border.

FILE - This July 16, 2004, file photo, shows a gray wolf at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. Wildlife activists want Colorado voters to decide whether the endangered gray wolf should be reintroduced decades after it disappeared from the state. Backers of a voter initiative delivered thousands of signatures on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in hopes of getting the proposal on the 2020 ballot. (AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File)

In recent developments, two wolves released into Colorado have made their way perilously close to the Wyoming border, where hunting these animals is legally permitted. Despite the potential risks associated with their proximity to Wyoming, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has asserted that they will not take action to prevent the wolves from crossing into Wyoming territory, where hunting is allowed year-round along the border.

Eric Odell, the species conservation program manager at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, who oversees the wolf reintroduction effort, emphasized that if the released wolves migrate into Wyoming, the agency does not have plans to recapture them.

Among the cohort of 10 wolves released in Grand and Summit counties between December 18 and 22, two have recently been tracked in Moffat County in northwest Colorado. Notably, all the released wolves are equipped with GPS tracking collars, allowing wildlife officials to monitor their movements.

The presence of these wolves near the Wyoming border has stirred concerns among locals, particularly those engaged in ranching activities. Jorgiea Raftopoulos, a sheep rancher in Moffat County, reported discovering wolf tracks near her ranch house on February 16. Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed the presence of these tracks, located approximately a mile from her ranch near Hamilton, which lies about 15 miles south of Craig. This places the wolves roughly 43 miles from the Wyoming border.

The proximity of these wolves to Wyoming raises questions about potential conflicts between wildlife conservation efforts and hunting regulations across state lines. While Colorado has actively pursued wolf reintroduction initiatives, Wyoming’s legal framework allows for the hunting of wolves, creating a complex dynamic for wildlife management in the region.

As the wolves continue their migration, stakeholders remain vigilant, with ranchers and wildlife officials closely monitoring their movements and interactions with local ecosystems. The situation underscores the challenges of managing wildlife populations across state borders and the importance of collaborative conservation efforts to address these complexities effectively.

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