Colorado Set to Begin Wolf Reintroduction Plan After Approval from Voters

by Kayla Zadel

Colorado could start seeing wolves in early 2022. State wildlife officials will start identifying populations and locations for gray wolf reintroducing this spring or summer.

The state is also developing a management plan alongside the gray wolf introduction plan. Additionally, it will outline procedures for settling claims by ranchers, farmers, and others who are being affected by this decision.

Democratic Governor Jared Polis is inciting Colorado Parks and Wildlife to quickly implement the initiative, the Post Independent reports.

“The voters have spoken. The directive is clear,” Dan Gibbs, Executive Director of the state Department of Natural Resources, says. He is also challenging the commissioners to get paws on the ground by 2022 or early 2023.

Voters in Favor of Wolf Reintroduction Initiative to Span Border to Border

Those against the new decision say that wolves are already in Colorado. Therefore reintroducing them is unnecessary. However, advocates believe that wolf reintroduction is an important step in restoring the wolf habitat that stretches from the Canadian border to the Mexican one.

In the 1990s, wolves were reintroduced in the Northern Rockies. Additionally, 2,000 wolves are in Montana Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and northern California. Odell says that they’re consulting these states for planning their own reintroduction.

The remaining population in the western Great Lakes region has since grown to about 4,400 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The Southwest is also protecting a small population of Mexican gray wolves.

More on the Vote

Colorado voters approved Proposition 114 in November. It requires the reintroduction of the gray wolf on public lands in the Western Slope of the Continental Divide.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was managing the wolf population. Now the state is in control of deciding the outcome for the gray wolves. This is a result of the Trump administration’s delisting of the gray wolf from the Endangered Species Act. Moreover, this new proposition took effect on Jan. 4.