Colorado Gray Wolf Reintroduction Measure Will be on 2020 Ballot
Despite what our snowy mountain landscape may imply, there are no wild gray wolves in Colorado.
However, that could change this year.
According to The Denver Channel, the Secretary of State's Office approved an initiative, which would reintroduce endangered gray wolves to Colorado, on Monday (January 6).
The measure, titled Initiative 107, will appear on the 2020 General Election Ballot.
If passed, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission must reintroduce gray wolves on public land west of the Continental Divide before 2024.
This would not be an easy process due to the wolf's current endangered status, which prohibits Colorado Parks & Wildlife from having any control over the species' reintroduction.
Before any attempt at reintroduction occurs, the gray wolf would have to be taken off the endangered species list — a decision that is expected to be considered later this year.
The gray wolf was originally native to Colorado, but nearly went extinct from hunting by the 1940s. The animals currently reside in the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, and the Western Great Lakes.
Supporters of the initiative believe that the reintroduction of the animals would bring balance to Colorado's ecosystem.
Opponents of the measure, who are mostly ranchers and farmers, fear that reintroduced wolves would hunt their livestock and harm their livelihood.
The initiative attempts to ease these fears by requiring the state to compensate any ranchers or farmers who have lost livestock to wolves.
It also pledges to handle any effects on hunting brought on by a possible decrease of elk and moose due to wolf predation.
Despite this, 16 Colorado counties, such as Alamosa and Mesa, currently oppose the measure.
To learn more about the history between the gray wolf species and Colorado, listen to our interview with Colorado Parks & Wildlife's Rebecca Ferrell below.