Colorado voters could get final say in the war over wolves | VailDaily.com

Colorado voters could get final say in the war over wolves

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Walking Mountains Science Center's Fright at The Museum event featured these real-life wolves.
Photo by Scott Robinson

After 40 years of battling to restore wolf populations in the SouthwestNorthern Rockies and Great Lakes states, the legal, political and biological war for wolves is coming to Colorado.

But this time it could be voters — not federal and state wildlife managers — pushing the only state in the Rocky Mountains without wolves to welcome the roaming predators.

With the federal government ready to remove the gray wolf from endangered species protection, a ballot proposal submitted to the Secretary of State last week hopes to enlist Colorado residents in finalizing the long effort to restore wolf populations in North America.

“A wolf population in Western Colorado would serve as the archstone, the final piece that would connect wolves from the high Arctic all the way to the Mexican border,” said Montana state Sen. Mike Phillips, a longtime wolf advocate and wildlife biologist who is advising Rocky Mountain Wolf Project and Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund, the two partner groups behind the push for wolf reintroduction in Colorado. “Colorado is maybe the last piece of the puzzle and it is a critically important piece.”

Few issues raise hackles like wolves. Ranchers lose livestock to the predators. Sportsmen lose elk and deer. The animosity that fueled a decades-long range war against wolves at the turn of the century — eradicating Canis lupus from the American West — lingers today. A more recent, but also decades-long, political and legal war has helped rebuild the country’s gray wolf population. Now the political war for wolves is coming to Colorado.

Read the full story via The Colorado Sun.

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