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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 June 24, 2004

Contacts:  Ed Bangs 406-449-5225 ext 204 
                   Roger Gephart 303-274-3561

Preliminary Necropsy Results For Gray Wolf Found Dead
Near Denver, Colorado
 

Preliminary results from a necropsy on a 2-year old female gray wolf found dead on June 7, 2004, along Interstate 70, approximately 30 miles west of Denver, indicate trauma consistent with a collision with a motor vehicle.  The back and ribs were broken with no evidence of any other lethal injuries.  The investigation is still open as a final necropsy report has not yet been filed.  The necropsy was performed at the Clark Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon. 

            The Colorado Division of Wildlife had been contacted by members of the public reporting what they believed to be a live wolf in that general vicinity prior to the discovery of the dead animal.  Evidence at this time indicates that the wolf probably traveled into that area on its own and was struck by a vehicle on I-70.   

The radio-collared wolf #293 was from the Swan Lake pack in the northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park.  A rough map measurement indicates the distance of travel was about 420 miles from the area in Yellowstone where it was last monitored to where it was found dead a few miles west of Idaho Springs, Colorado.  The wolf was radio collared as a pup on January 8, 2003 in Yellowstone. Its radio collar signal was last located near Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming, which is in its home range, on January 15, 2004.  

The gray wolf is federally protected throughout Colorado.  There are two distinct population segments in Colorado, each with a differing degree of federal protection. Wolves located in Colorado south of I-70 are part of the southwestern distinct population segment and are classified under the Endangered Species Act as endangered. Wolves found north of I-70, are part of the western distinct population segment and are classified as threatened.  

            The maximum penalty for the take (killing or harming) of a threatened species is a $25,000 fine and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.  The maximum penalty for take of an endangered species is a $100,000 fine and/or imprisonment of not more than one year.   

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. 

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