It was back in early December when park volunteers reported that a wolf-like canine came out of the woods at Moraine Park. While cameras set up to capture images of any wolves that might have trekked from Yellowstone National Park down to Rocky Mountain have failed to produce any evidence, last week biologists found a 4-inch-wide paw print in the park that most likely came from a wolf or wolf-dog hybrid.
Of course, if wolves return on their own to Rocky Mountain they would create a multitude of issues. On one hand, they'd make a small contribution, at least initially, to reining-in the park's burgeoning elk herds. Too, they'd add a great contribution to the experience of park visitors, who no doubt would be enthralled to hear the howl of a wolf.
But Rocky Mountain, at little more than 250,000 acres, has only a fraction of the habitat Yellowstone's 2.2 million acres provides, and so any wolf packs that became established in Rocky Mountain likely would venture beyond the park's boundaries and create problems for neighboring towns. But since wolves currently are listed as "endangered" in the Lower 48 under the Endangered Species Act, managing them could be problematic in some eyes.
Yes, this will be an interesting chapter in Rocky Mountain ecology.