Friday, April 21, 2006

Colorado Wildlife officer shoots two wolf hybrids

Two wolf hybrids were shot and killed in the Valley last month by local Division of Wildlife officer Becky Manly. Manly received several calls over a 12-day period from locals reporting the animals were harassing livestock. The first call, on March 9, placed the hybrids eleven miles west of Westcliffe in a heavily timbered area. Manly was unable to locate the animals at that time. The second call came March 16. That sighting was three miles north of the original location.

A local rancher called the DOW on the morning of March 20 reporting two animals were chasing calves. The caller, whose name was not released, tried to chase the hybrids off, but said they didn’t seem to be afraid of her.

On her way out to look for the animals on the 20th, Manly was flagged down by a local. That individual had chased the hybrids away from another rancher’s calf. Manly was able to observe the two animals and determined, based on their behavior, they weren’t pure wolves.

Wild wolves, according to DOW Public Information Officer Michael Seraphin of Denver, are afraid of people. They run off when they’re chased. According to Manly’s report, these two animals did not do that. It was at that point Manly destroyed them. “They were shot about one mile north of town, just west of Highway 69,” Seraphin said.

Full wolves are protected in Colorado. Hybrids are not.

After they were shot, the DOW learned one of the hybrids was a neutered male. Manly’s report did not indicate what the other animal was. Although the DOW doesn’t know where these two animals came from, Seraphin said the Division often sees hybrids that have been dumped by their owners. “People get these as pets. They suddenly realize they’ve got way more than they can handle, so they take them out into the country and let them go,” Seraphin explained.

The DOW is not investigating the matter, as Colorado law stipulates that any wildlife or law enforcement officer can destroy dogs that harass livestock or wildlife.
– Meredith O’Neil

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