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Wolverines rare in Wyoming

Now Colorado wants them too

Mark Heinz
February 01, 2024

As about the most ferocious critter out there, wolverines are naturally rare — Wyoming might have as few as 15 of them — and now Colorado wants some too.

Fresh off the heels of what turned out to be a controversial reintroduction of wolves, the Centennial State continues to ponder a wolverine reintroduction program. The last confirmed record of a wolverine in Colorado was in 1919.

Different States, Different Views

Whether Colorado might ask for some of Wyoming’s scant few wolverines isn’t known. When Colorado might actually put wolverine paws on the ground, and where those animals might come from have yet to be determined.

Colorado’s program might hinge on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to put wolverines under federal Endangered Species Act protection as a threatened species.

A Wyoming Game and Fish Department biologist recently told Cowboy State Daily that the USFWS ruling won’t really affect wolverine policy here. It was already illegal to trap or hunt wolverines in Wyoming.

It’s not really certain how many wolverines are in Wyoming, since they are incredibly elusive and naturally widely dispersed, but the last time Game and Fish did a survey, about 15 wolverines were detected at bait stations.

Meanwhile, Montana isn’t happy about wolverines being listed as threatened. The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks recently decided to sue the USFWS over the wolverine listing.

In The Works For A While

Colorado has wanted to reintroduce wolverines for a while, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Joey Livingston told Cowboy State Daily.

“For more than a decade, the state of Colorado has been committed to advancing the restoration of wolverine populations in the state. We are currently reviewing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife listing decision to understand our next steps in the process to successfully reintroduce wolverines in Colorado,” he said.

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