"It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"

Discuss wolves. (News, sightings, conservation, status, etc.)

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"It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"

Post by Koa » Wed Nov 25, 2020 3:15 am

"It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"
By Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun, Nov. 5
Unleash the hounds.

Proposition 114 was decided Thursday as votes from heavily populated Front Range counties pushed the wolf reintroduction plan to victory.

The measure, which tasks Colorado Parks and Wildlife with crafting a plan by the end of 2023 to reintroduce wolves into the Western Slope, was too close to call on Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. The tightest statewide ballot issue in Colorado’s 2020 election, Proposition 114 was ahead by a narrow margin that veered close to triggering an automatic recount.
Read the full article here: https://coloradosun.com/2020/11/05/colo ... troducton/

Commentary: I don't think this is the best idea. viewtopic.php?f=7&t=88744&p=2566502#p2566502

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Re: "It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"

Post by -Wolfdog- » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:25 pm

I don't really see the harm in it. Colorado has one of the highest elk populations. It also has many of the same predators found in Yellowstone. Mainly cougars, bears, coyotes, foxes, ravens etc. Wolves were already spotted in Colorado back in 2019, so they're already traveling out of Wyoming and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. It seems only natural to make them a permanent resident. The wolves are already going into Colorado by themselves.

There may be conservation conflicts between Mexican gray wolves and Northwestern gray wolves. That's an issue I think should be looked into, but hybridization occurs in almost all subspecies of wolves since they tend to overlap (apart from very isolated populations). It seems largely unavoidable, because we can't closely monitor wild animals who may cover hundreds of square miles. I hope that they'll come to a conclusion where both subspecies are far away enough where hybridization has little effect.

I don't think the idea of reintroducing wolves into Colorado is a bad idea per se, the area is a stone's throw away from Wyoming, particularly northern Colorado. Wolves will get into Colorado eventually, that's part of natural migration. It's a matter of it we humans will allow it to happen.

I mean, it took years to bring wolves back to Yellowstone. There were plenty of legal battles and this seems like a similar incident. People either love or hate wolves. They're called "charismatic megafauna" for a reason.

Wolves can be very damaging to livestock, but they're far from the main cause of cattle death. I understand the safety concerns but wolves are generally wary animals and prefer to stay in the wild. I'm not a biologist so I don't know if this makes any sense, however wolves may have a substantial impact on the Colorado ecosystem. Whether that's good or bad is hard to say. I know that people kind of blew the wolves' impact way out of proportion to some extent, despite this wolves did effect the ecosystem.

I highly doubt that wolves will be the single contributing factor in the hunting and farming industry. It kinda sounds like hunters and farmers are only thinking about localized livestock kills as opposed to the bigger picture. That their presence is negligible and relatively easy to prevent or minimize. I have never heard of wolves actually changing an entire industry, so I'd definitely like to see some examples. Overall it sounds more like politics rather than concrete data about wolves harming the industry. Feel free to prove me wrong!

A good source:
https://oregonwild.org/wildlife/wolves- ... 20industry

[edit]
I agree that wolf conservation should not be voted on by the general public. Conservation is a serious issue, it can either make or break an entire ecosystem. If this reintroduction were clearly harmful, then I think the general public is too misinformed to logically vote on a sufficient conclusion. This should've been dealt with by people experienced in the field (and no, politicians do not count).
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Re: "It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"

Post by Koa » Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:10 pm

[edit]
I mean, it took years to bring wolves back to Yellowstone. There were plenty of legal battles and this seems like a similar incident. People either love or hate wolves. They're called "charismatic megafauna" for a reason.
... I agree that wolf conservation should not be voted on by the general public. Conservation is a serious issue, it can either make or break an entire ecosystem. If this reintroduction were clearly harmful, then I think the general public is too misinformed to logically vote on a sufficient conclusion. This should've been dealt with by people experienced in the field (and no, politicians do not count).
That precisely is the harm. They were reintroduced because enough people voted "yes" instead of "no" on Colorado ballots with no additional information provided on the ballot other than the proposition itself. The harm is in the bad precedent, not (yet or ever, to be decided) in the wolves' directed arrival. When the public is involved in these simplified decisions, the approach toward wildlife conservation trends reactionary rather than constructive.

Wolves were already spotted in Colorado back in 2019, so they're already traveling out of Wyoming and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. It seems only natural to make them a permanent resident. The wolves are already going into Colorado by themselves. ... I don't think the idea of reintroducing wolves into Colorado is a bad idea per se, the area is a stone's throw away from Wyoming, particularly northern Colorado. Wolves will get into Colorado eventually, that's part of natural migration.
Wolves have indeed been in Colorado previously (as recently as this year). But I think it is important (and to do so out of fairness) to note that it isn't easy for wolves to colonize Colorado via Wyoming. NatGeo sums this up nicely.

There’s also a formidable distance of several hundred miles between the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and the Colorado state line—and wolves that attempt to travel south can be killed in Wyoming, where it’s legal to kill them throughout 85 percent of the state without restriction.

In January [2020], a small wolf pack was seen in northwestern Colorado, but several of their members were shot when crossing back into Wyoming. Besides that pack, a few more lone wolves have been spotted in Colorado since the 1990s, but not enough to repopulate the state.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/anim ... troduction

There may be conservation conflicts between Mexican gray wolves and Northwestern gray wolves. That's an issue I think should be looked into, but hybridization occurs in almost all subspecies of wolves since they tend to overlap (apart from very isolated populations). It seems largely unavoidable, because we can't closely monitor wild animals who may cover hundreds of square miles. I hope that they'll come to a conclusion where both subspecies are far away enough where hybridization has little effect.
As I said in the old commentary I linked to, I was curious whether or not conservation groups/pro-wolf groups would have an issue in preventing hybridization. But it seems that conservation groups like the Center for Biological Diversity actually supported the ballot in the hopes that any wolves reintroduced to Colorado could eventually move down and mix with Mexican gray wolves to increase genetic diversity. (This is also in the NatGeo article.) The Mexican gray wolf population is so weak in genetic diversity that they could only benefit from mixing and I would imagine, at the rate of FWS's recovery program, such actions will eventually become necessary. Whether the public will understand or support that, I have no idea, but I imagine they will do what conservation groups tell them to do.

Wolves can be very damaging to livestock, but they're far from the main cause of cattle death. ... I highly doubt that wolves will be the single contributing factor in the hunting and farming industry. It kinda sounds like hunters and farmers are only thinking about localized livestock kills as opposed to the bigger picture. That their presence is negligible and relatively easy to prevent or minimize. I have never heard of wolves actually changing an entire industry, so I'd definitely like to see some examples. Overall it sounds more like politics rather than concrete data about wolves harming the industry. Feel free to prove me wrong!

A good source: https://oregonwild.org/wildlife/wolves- ... 20industry
I don't think anyone (smart) is saying wolves are the main cause of cattle death, lol. (I imagine, on the flipside, whatever losses caused by wolves are tough to deal with on top of dealing with losses caused by weather, crime, etc.) But it's important to point out that the potential impact of wolves on livestock goes beyond just killing (e.g. stress). It's not that simple. See: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/ ... arch-shows. I'm sure it's harder to document stress on animals in a quantitative fashion/for studies to focus on wolf-livestock encounters where stress is what is being studied and I'd love to see more of those. I do think it's fair for the agricultural industry to have reservations about wolf reintroduction, especially when the vote margin was so close and largely decided by urban voters who do not have to deal with wolves (as the NatGeo article points out).

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Re: "It’s official: Voters decide to reintroduce wolves in Colorado"

Post by josefclark » Thu Sep 22, 2022 5:17 am

Yes, the Wolves have definitely been in Colorado previously. It took years to bring wolves back. There existed a bunch of legal battles and this seems like a similar incident. People either love or hate wolves.

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