Grand Junction, Colo. • Colorado wildlife officials are considering renewing their opposition to the introduction of wolves as the federal government considers recovery plans for the Mexican wolf.
The state Parks and Wildlife Commission last week considered a draft resolution highlighting the dangers to livestock, wildlife and humans that would reaffirm positions the commission took in the 1980s, The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction reported. However, commissioners put off a vote to make sure the resolution is consistent with recommendations approved by the commission in 2005 that called for allowing wolves to migrate into the state.
Gary Wockner, a member of a working group that came up with the 2005 recommendations, said the resolution as proposed was misleading.
"This sneaky resolution is a 100 percent violation of the agreement of the Colorado Wolf Working Group," Wockner wrote in an email to reporters.
Parks and Wildlife spokesman Matt Robbins said wildlife commissioners have already asked to have the proposed resolution reworded to better reflect the thoughts of the working group.
In January, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife decided to list the Mexican wolf, a smaller subspecies of the gray wolf, as endangered. Wildlife commissioners decided to revisit their stance to support a Nov. 13 letter expressing concerns about the agency's recovery plans by the governors of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, Robbins said.
The Four Corners governors wrote that science does not suggest the animals lived north of Interstate 40, which runs through New Mexico and Arizona, but that Fish and Wildlife has filled a panel on the recovery plan with scientists who want to establish wolves north of that point.
Wolf reintroduction has been a contentious issue in the Northern Rockies as well. Gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in the 1990s. That population has spread out of the park and into Idaho, Montana and elsewhere.
Wolves remain under federal protection in Wyoming, which is fighting in court to try to gain state control of them. Congress specified that state management of wolves in Idaho and Montana is not subject to legal challenges.
The best available science says Mexican gray wolves need habitat in southern Colorado in order to recover, but the state’s Wildlife Commission is considering a resolution barring them from reintroduction.
The proposed resolution shuts the door on wolf recovery before it can even begin in Colorado which has some of the best remaining suitable habitat for wolves in the Lower 48.
Habitats in southern Colorado are essential, in fact, to the Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies whose recovery now depends, according to the best available science, on establishing a core population in the state.
Please urge the Commission stop this anti-wolf resolution in its tracks!
Please sign Defenders of Wildlife’s Petition to Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission HERE.
While petitions are a valuable tool to reach decision makers in-mass, personal letters have a better chance of being read and have been found to be even more effective at swaying votes. If you would like to take more action, please write to the Commission Members directly. You can adapt some of the wording from the petition to make your letter more personal.
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