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Colorado wolf restoration process moving forward

wolf reintroduction
Posted at 7:30 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 07:42:24-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — The plan for the reintroduction of wild wolves to Colorado is moving forward. The latest in a series of stakeholder meetings just happened in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) leaders are attempting an objective approach to developing the reintroduction plan. They are acting on the will of Colorado voters.

"It's an extremely emotional topic for a lot of people and we know that there's a huge diversity of opinion on the topic of gray wolves here in the state, but proposition 114 passed,” said Rebecca Ferrell with CPW, “This is now law in Colorado, so Colorado Parks and Wildlife is going forward."

The law says the reintroduction needs to start no later than December 31, 2023. Meetings bring together invited panel members and allow for public comment. "Bring the perspectives from ranchers, from environmentalists, from recreationalists and everyone in between," said Ferrell.

The process is complex. One part includes the technical elements. "How to bring wolves here, where to bring them from, where to put them on the ground, at what pace," said Julie Shapiro with the Keystone Policy Center.

The current discussion is considering how to manage the wolves when they are back in Colorado. A lot of the debate is over wolves crossing onto farms and ranchland where there is livestock. "So how do you minimize conflict as well as compensate when losses occur," said Shapiro.

Some want a policy that allows farmers and ranchers to shoot and kill wolves. Others want a no-kill policy with an action plan of wolf deterrents. There is also some out-of-the-box thinking like the suggestion of recreation zones around agricultural land because wolves avoid places where there is a lot of human activity.

The meetings are moving the process forward. “There is a lot of agreement in places where people do feel we’ve got the ability to come together and figure things out,” said Ferrell.

There is also more work ahead. You can see upcoming meetings, review previous meetings, and submit online comments or questions at wolfengagement.org