Colorado Says No to Wolves

By author of The Duck Blog

Vote Opposes Predator Introduction

Colorado wildlife commissioners recently opposed the introduction of wolves into the state. Photo by John HafnerColorado wildlife commissioners have taken a stand against wolf introduction, voting to oppose the release of the predators into the Centennial State.

The state’s Parks and Wildlife Commission voted 7-4 on Jan. 13 to support a resolution that "opposes the intentional release of any wolves into Colorado,” according to an article in aspendailynews.com. That covers gray wolves and Mexican wolves. The issue arose after Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke against the introduction of Mexican gray wolves into the Four Corners region.

The vote doesn’t actually prevent wolf introduction in Colorado, the report said, because the state has no authority to do so. Wolves are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service handles wolf management. Further, CPW pointed out that Colorado still protects wolves that wander into the state.

“We’re not opposed to the wolves that have come into our state,” CPW spokesman Matt Robbins said in an article on denver.cbslocal.com. “We have had history of the gray wolf coming into our state. They have historic range here. The idea that perhaps we’re trying to do something with a bias is in conflict with everything that we’ve said at this point. It’s just simply not factual.”

Robbins said in the aspendailynews.com report that the vote merely selected language that supported 2004 findings from the Colorado Wolf Management Working Group.

“The four (commissioners) that voted not in favor are not necessarily stating that they are [in favor of wolf introduction],” he said in the story. “This was a vote over whether to soften the language or hold off.”

As everywhere, the wolf issue in Colorado is divisive, with hunters and ranchers generally opposing wolf protection and introductions. Currently, gray wolves inhabit portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. California officials expect that a functional population will exist there by 2024.