Reintroduction of wolves to Colorado is the topic of Dec. 7 Sierra Club meeting in Steamboat

RBC | Gray wolves were eradicated from Colorado by the 1940s to protect domestic livestock, but groups like the Sierra Club are working to change public perception of wolves in hopes of reintroducing the animals to their former habitat. United States Fish and Wildlife Service has restored wolf populations to Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. Colorado is the last holdout. A few wolves have migrated into Colorado’s North and Middle Park, but the animals haven’t been officially reintroduced, largely due to continued opposition from livestock producers and hunting organizations.
At last spring’s Rio Blanco County Woolgrowers meeting, Justin Ewing, a trapper for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services office said, “It’s just a matter of time before we have an established wolf population here. The days of ‘no-wolves’ tunnel vision are over. They’re going to come, one way or another.”
If wolves are intentionally introduced, as they have been in other states, they can be managed if they cause trouble for livestock or humans, but if wolves migrate into Colorado, they are considered an endangered species and come under federal protection laws. Killing a wolf or any endangered species can result in criminal charges, a year in prison and fines up to $100,000 per offense, depending on circumstances and the discretion of federal authorities.
Reintroducing wolves in areas where ranching is prevalent doesn’t always end well for the wolves. The Wyoming Wolf Recovery 2016 annual report listed 243 confirmed wolf-kills of livestock, including 154 cattle, 88 sheep and one horse. In addition, 24 cattle, two sheep and one horse were injured by wolves but survived. As a result, wildlife managers killed 113 wolves that were confirmed to be attacking livestock. The state of Wyoming paid cattle and sheep producers $315,062 in compensation for livestock losses.
Pro-wolf activists believe western Colorado is the ideal habitat for wolves, due to the large populations of deer and elk. In Ewing’s opinion, the activists are interested in “natural control” of deer and elk rather than allowing human hunters to manage herd numbers, and said human safety when it comes to wolves “isn’t on the radar.”
In 2016, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission formally opposed the release of wolves in the state 7-4.
The Trappers Lake Sierra Club group, which serves Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties, is hosting an informational meeting about the benefits of reintroducing wolves to Colorado on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colo. The meeting will include two short films, “Meet the Real Wolf” and “Canis Lupus Colorado,” followed by a discussion titled “Wolves in Colorado: Restoring the Balance,” led by Delia Malone, Sierra Club wildlife chair.
The films were produced by the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project, which states its mission as “to improve public understanding of gray wolf behavior, ecology and options for re-establishing the species in Colorado. The benchmark of our success: Wolves again roaming the snow-capped peaks, rim rock canyons and primeval forests of western Colorado.”

8 Comments

  1. Big mistake…Idaho,, Montana,,, and Wyoming have all the facts…Don’t let the Sierra Club idiots convince you otherwise…

  2. Their information is false. Oppose wolf introduction! The elk herd in Yellowstone Ecosystem has been devastated, livestock growers do not get reimbursed for all wolf kills, inly a very small portion. The wolves are a menace ip here in Wyoming

  3. Clarkson Rollins….unlike moronic idiots like you who listen to the propaganda of the ranchers instead of actual science Colorado will make an educated choice unlike the media educated morons of montana (notherm rednecks)

  4. predation, even with bears included, didn’t explain elk’s low pregnancy rates. A changing climate, on the other hand, did. Severe droughts since 2000, possibly correlated with climate change, reduced grass production in the areas of the park where elk migrate in the summer. Elk were forced to consume immense quantities of nutrient-poor fodder to try and meet their caloric needs, but most females were still undernourished and therefore unable to conceive
    In the Greater Yellowstone region, wolves take 8,448 to 11,616 elk per year
    I humans reported killing 25,852 elk in 2016, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department

  5. DID YOU KNOW….In Idaho and Montana the August 5 2010 ruling by activist Judge Molloy created such an uproar that the Governor of MT told his ranchers to start shooting wolves and told any state employee that cooperated with a Federal agent in regard to dead wolves would no longer have a job. These groups knew that they had pushed too far with their abuse of the Endangered Species Act and 9 of the 12 groups that had their name on that law suit tried to back out and get Molloy to reverse his ruling. It took an act of congress to put an end to the abuse of the Endangered Species Act for those states! You see these groups can continue to pimp wolves without regard to common sense because Judges like Molloy interpret “into the majority of their former range” to mean the majority of states like WI MT or WA should have wolves! It is unrealistic and unattainable without irrevocable harm to wolves and their reputation to have them at levels that wolf pimps want. They do so for controversy…..controversy gets “donate now” buttons pressed and easy pickings for EAJA dollars .

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