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This is an open letter to Bob Amick of Meeker:
Thank you for writing our office to share your thoughts on the resolution passed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWC) on Jan. 13, 2016, regarding wolves in our state. Interest in wolves remains high in Colorado and the PWC resolution has generated considerable public discussion and concern.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the PWC are responsible for the management of wildlife resources within our state. Presently, however, wolves (both the gray wolf that resides in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Mexican wolf of the southwestern United States and Mexico) are classified as federally endangered, and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Given the federal endangered status of wolves, the USFWS, and not CPW, is responsible for any wolves that travel into Colorado.
The state takes its role in conserving Colorado’s diverse wildlife resources seriously. More than 110 years ago, the PWC approved a wolf management plan that was the product of a collaborative group of stakeholders called the Colorado Wolf Management Working Group. The plan represents broad-based agreement on how wolves migrating into Colorado will be managed once the species is removed from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the state assumes management authority.
The USFWS is responsible for the development and approval of any recovery plan that would introduce or reintroduce a federally endangered species into our state. Recently the USFWS re-initiated efforts to update the recovery plan for Mexican wolves. The federal timeline calls for a draft plan for public review by late 2016 and the final recovery plan is scheduled for completion in December 2017.
The resolution passed by the PWC on Jan. 13 was a symbolic statement to reaffirm the recommendations of the Wolf Working Group and to demonstrate acceptance of wolves in Colorado, with conditions.
The resolution does oppose the intentional release of any wolves into Colorado and recommends that Mexican wolf recovery efforts be confined to the subspecies’ historic range in the Southwestern U.S. Ultimately, the Colorado General Assembly retains sole authority to approve the state’s involvement in the introduction or reintroduction of any federally endangered species into the state, including wolves.
Wolves elicit passionate feelings for many Coloradans.We encourage you to learn more about state and federal wolf management efforts and the recent PWC resolution by visiting CPW’s website at: cpw.state.co.us/ learn/Pages/SOC-GrayWolf.aspx.
Once again, we thank you for your input, and for taking the time to contact our office.
Governor’s Office of Correspondence