Colorado Proposition 114
Among several issues facing Colorado voters on November 3 is the question of whether to reintroduce gray wolves to western Colorado.
The measure directs Colorado Parks and Wildlife to reintroduce gray wolves beginning in 2023.
Backers of the propositions say it would be the first step in a plan to reintroduce and manage the wolves.
Advocates say the introduction of wolves in other states has shown benefits for ecosystems. In Yellowstone for example, reports indicate overgrazing deer and elk have been reduced allowing smaller animal species to thrive.
But Bonnie Brown of the Colorado Wool Growers Association and Colorado Sheep & Wool Authority says western Colorado is not Yellowstone.
Brown: “The notion of a balanced ecosystem is very misleading because wolf packs can take down an overabundance of prey species but they just keep going. They don’t say, we’re at a healthy number we’re going to stop now. They just keep depredating. Colorado does not have the management tools that other states have. You’re going to have a very large predator out there on the landscape. There’s really no control mechanism. One of the things they don’t mention is that depredation on livestock in Idaho and Wyoming is over 50% of the time occurring on private property.”
The state’s wildlife commission rejected a reintroduction proposal in 2016 citing threats to big game like elk and opposition from ranchers, who could lose livestock revenue.