Last Chance for Sanity in Colorado?
By Dave Shaffer
A group of Colorado lawmakers are attempting to inject some logic (even sanity) into the wolf reintroduction plan by introducing a bill that would designate the predators as “experimental.”
This experimental population designation would permit more direct management by the state of Colorado, rather than federal control, according to the Sportsman’s Alliance, a hunting advocacy group. Additionally, this would at a minimum delay, and possibly eliminate, the planned Colorado reintroductions while all the details are worked out.
Colorado Senate Bill 23-246 calls for delaying the reintroduction of any more wolves until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designates them as an “experimental population.” The Colorado House Agriculture, Water and Natural Resources Committee passed the measure last week.
The current plans are to begin reintroducing more wolves to the Western Slope region of Colorado no later than the end of this year. This wolf reintroduction was authorized by Colorado’s Proposition 114 which just barely passed on Nov. 3, 2020, by a margin of 50.91% to 49.09%.
Many argue there’s no need to reintroduce wolves to Colorado because we already have an established wolf pack, the North Park Pack, which was started by wolves migrating there from Wyoming. This pack is under federal protection, which restricts Colorado’s ability to manage this segment of the state’s wildlife.
This North Park pack has already caused controversy by killing livestock and family pets. Congresswoman Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, is an outspoken opponent of bringing in more wolves because of this and has testified before the U.S. House Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee.
It’s also very likely more wolves will migrate from Wyoming south into Colorado, “naturally” adding to the North Park pack and spreading throughout Colorado all without the need for any wolf reintroduction or outside interference from humans whatsoever.
Hopefully, our Colorado lawmakers can apply some common sense/sanity to this misguided wolf reintroduction effort before it even gets started.