Only one wolverine currently inhabits the state, a male that wandered down several years ago from northern Wyoming's Teton Range, about 500 miles away. Inman said Colorado has enough high-mountain territory to support up to 100 more of the animals.
"That's like a 30 percent increase in their population size," he said.
Any reintroduction into Colorado would require approval from state wildlife commissioners and the Legislature, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton said.
Representatives of the state's ski and agriculture industries in the past have raised concerns that bringing wolverines back could hurt their industries. Hampton said no decision has been made and it could take years to work out all the details.
Other areas where wolverines once roamed also could serve as future refuges.
Those include portions of Utah, Oregon's Cascade Range, Wyoming's Big Horn Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, said Shawn Sartorius, a biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Service based in Montana.
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