Lauren Boebert propels effort to ‘uphold gray wolf science’

Eli Pace
Steamboat Pilot & Today

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, and Republican Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin are leading an effort to oppose a federal judge’s decision to reinstate gray wolves as an endangered species.

Over the past decade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has restored gray wolves in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. In November 2020, Colorado voters passed Proposition 114, mandating the state reintroduce wolves west of the Continental Divide.

A letter dated Thursday, April 7, and signed by Boebert, Tiffany and almost two dozen other lawmakers contend that state and private conservation efforts have been “more than adequate” and that gray wolf populations have far exceeded federal management objectives.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
Courtesy photo

The letter cites an estimated 3,000 gray wolves across the Rocky Mountain states including 1,543 in Idaho, 1,117 in Montana and another 327 in Wyoming.

“The gray wolf is fully recovered, should remain delisted in the lower 48 United States, and should be managed by the states,” Boebert said in a statement. “It’s really that simple. Some activist judge from California shouldn’t be able to overturn the best available science and contradict the law based on his own leftist political beliefs.”

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Wolves were eradicated in Colorado in the 1940s, but reintroduction efforts in nearby states have been so successful at least one pair has migrated into the state.

According to CPW, the two adult wolves have mated and produced pups in nearby Jackson County.

The pair came from a larger pack in Wyoming. Based on CPW’s predictions, wolves from the south could move into the state someday as well.

At the same time, ranchers in Jackson County have reported multiple wolf kills of livestock and at least one dog since December.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife confirmed on Dec. 21 that this heifer was killed by wolves near Walden in Jackson County.
Colorado Cattleman’s Association/Courtesy photo

In November 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted gray wolves nationwide, removing them from the Endangered Species List. The decision returned management of gray wolves over to state and tribal wildlife agencies on Jan. 4, 2021. The delisting has garnered support from the Trump and Biden administrations.

However, a judge’s ruling in February 2022 vacated the federal agency’s decision and again put wolf management back into the hands of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State wildlife officials have said the two agencies will work together on the state’s reintroduction effort.

“The same career bureaucrats that worked at the Department of the Interior under the Trump administration that found the gray wolf is fully recovered are still working at the department,” Boebert’s statement continued. “The science hasn’t changed, and Secretary (Deb) Haaland should appeal the unlawful decision by the California judge. I will continue to fight for our ranchers and to protect their livestock from these dangerous predators.”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff maintain watch over gray wolf M2101 after it was tranquilized and fitted with a GPS collar. M2101 has been spotted in north-central Colorado traveling with gray wolf M1084 from Wyoming’s Snake River Pack.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife/Courtesy photo

Along with Boebert, Tiffany and Rep. Ken Buck, also of Colorado, another 21 congressmen and congresswomen signed the letter encouraging Haaland to appeal the judge’s decision. Colorado Farm Bureau President Carlyle Currier also took a stance against wolves being reinstated.

Rep. Boebert’s office also noted that her appropriations request for $1 million for the Wolf-Livestock Loss Demonstration Program will help compensate farmers and ranchers whose livestock are killed by wolves reintroduced through federal programs after being signed into law.

According to Rep. Boebert’s office, she also will introduce legislation soon to delist the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. Boebert represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Moffat County and most of the Western Slope.

This is a photo of the first gray wolf born and collared in Colorado. The female pup was fitted with a GPS collar in North Park on Feb. 9.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife-Eric Odell/Courtesy photo

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