Bad News For Colorado: North Park Wolf Pack GPS Collar Stops Working
The state of Colorado was already facing challenges with the re-introduction of gray wolves, now there's even more concern because of the failure of a radio collar.
GPS Tracking of Wolves Currently Not Possible
According to the Coloradan, the wolf pack in northern Colorado had been fitted with three GPS collars to help wildlife officials keep track of the pack's location. Unfortunately, the last remaining working collar failed last month. The collar had been attached to the breeding male of the pack, but now it becomes very difficult to have current information on where the wolf pack is located.
When the gray wolves reintroduction in Colorado was passed by voters in 2020, many residents and ranchers expressed concerns about the threat to livestock by the presence of the wolves. So far, the state has confirmed five wolf kills of cattle in the state.
How the GPS Collars Work
These GPS collars don't allow wildlife officials to know where the wolves are in real-time, but by collecting location points at predetermined intervals and then transmitting the information via satellite. Biologists are able to view the location information every few days and determine where the wolves have been. Much of the tracking of wolves actually has to do with observing tracks and signs of scat.
It's not known exactly why the collars have failed. The batteries have a lifespan of five years. One possible solution at this point is to try and trap a wolf, tranquilize it, and install another GPS collar.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is very early in the wolf introduction phase and it continues to be a work in progress. There will continue to be challenges in the process, and the issue of gray wolves in Colorado will continue to be a divisive one across the state.
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