Wolf sighting in Rocky Mountain National Park?

9:44 AM, Dec 24, 2007   |    comments
Photo courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park
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If true, this would be one of only a few confirmed sightings since the animals were killed off about 50 years ago.

Jeff Conner, a biologist at the park, says two park volunteers spotted a very big animal walking out of the woods in the Moraine Park area on December 4.

Conner says he checked out the area the next morning and found some large paw prints in the snow. He says the tracks are about the same as wolf tracks he researched at Yellowstone National Park.

Conner is working with the Denver Zoo to photograph the animal and hopefully collect hair and DNA samples. Only with more information can he confirm this animal is a true wolf, not a wolf hybrid or large dog.

"I think it's very exciting," said Fred Wendland, the founder of a wolf sanctuary in Larimer County. "I think it's good for Colorado, I think it's good for the wildlife, and ultimately, I think it's going to be good for humans to appreciate the value that the animals really have."

However, Wendland says he knows some people will be worried and even scared about the animals.

"Wolves don't want to be anywhere around where humans are," he said.

Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park about 12 years ago, and any wolves in Colorado likely came from there.

In 2004, a female wolf was hit and killed by a car along I-70 near Idaho Springs. A radio collar she was wearing confirmed she came from Yellowstone.

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