Coloradans are barely howling for the reintroduction of gray wolves
Proposition 114 measure would be the first time voters -- not federal wildlife biologists -- directed wildlife officials to reintroduce a species. But biologists think wolves are already in northwest Colorado.
Colorado voters are wary of wolves.
Early voting results on Tuesday showed wolf reintroduction as one of the tightest contests on Tuesday’s ballot, with voters narrowly approving of Proposition 114. The measure would direct Colorado Parks and Wildlife to come up with a plan to reintroduce gray wolves to the Western Slope by the end of 2023.
Proposition 114 was leading by less than 20,000 votes with more than 2.6 million votes counted by 9 p.m. on Tuesday night. The measure would have marked the first time that voters — not federal wildlife biologists — directed state officials to reintroduce wolves. Wolf reestablishment in the Northern Rockies, Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina and Great Lakes region was done under direction of the federal government and the Endangered Species Act.
Bill Haggerty, a Democrat from Grand Junction, said Proposition 114 was the toughest issue for him on this ballot. Haggerty, an author of hiking and outdoor guidebooks, is a former information specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. He has been listening to many arguments for both sides from a large network of former wildlife workers.
“I could have gone either way, but I voted against it,” Haggerty said.
The early voting results showed a split along urban and rural lines in Colorado, with voters in eight of 11 Front Range counties approving the measure while the state’s more rural counties on the plains and Western Slope leaned away.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.