Colorado wildlife commissioners took a stand Wednesday night opposing the release of wolves in the state, overriding a blitz by pro-wolf groups pressing for ecological benefits of predators. Colorado's new posture represents a pre-emptory challenge to court-ordered U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service efforts to save wolves, an endangered species.

Cattle and sheep industry leaders backed the resolution — commissioners voted 7-4 — banning release of both Mexican wolves and gray wolves. Colorado still has a policy that it will take care of any wolf that wanders into the state on its own. The issue is intentionally releasing them.
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners said they wanted to support Gov. John Hickenlooper, who on Nov. 13 joined governors of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in a letter telling Interior Secretary Sally Jewell they oppose Mexican wolf recovery efforts on land where Mexican wolves historically did not exist. That likely includes parts of southwestern Colorado that federal biologists are considering as habitat. "This does not represent Coloradans. It does not serve Colorado," WildEarth Guardians biologist Taylor Jones said. "And it is un-necessarily antagonistic to wolf recovery."

Federal officials declined to comment. They're not required to seek state blessings as they develop a Mexican wolf recovery plan by the end of 2017 to prevent extinction. Hickenlooper's concern was "with their process in developing a recovery plan," spokeswoman Kathy Green said. That concern is separate, she said, from resolutions state parks and wildlife commissioners considered. "We are pro wildlife," state spokesman Matt Robbins said before commissioners heard from both sides.

But pro-wolf demonstrators doubted that, carrying signs and howling in front of commissioners' facilities in Denver. "We should kick out cattle. Wolves belong here," said Kia Bridges of the Boulder Rad-ish Collective. "If you bring back a predator, it puts an ecosystem back the way it is supposed to be. It would get prey animals moving."

Sierra Club regional wildlife team leader Delia Malone argued that "Colorado needs wolves and wolves need Colorado." The Sierra Club proposed an alternative resolution: that Colorado should invite introduction of Mexican wolves and re-introduction of gray wolves on habitat in the state.
Colorado Cattlemen vice president Terry Fankhauser supported the state stance. "Colorado is not appropriate wolf habitat," Fankhauser said. "Our human population is too high. And the deer population here is not robust enough to support wolves, which would drive them to eat livestock and pets."



Colorado Parks & Wildlife Opposes Reintroduction Of Mexican Gray Wolf Amid Protests

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Wednesday approved a resolution that prevents the reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. Demonstrators were outside the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office in Denver on Wednesday saying they want wolves reintroduced in Colorado as the CPW Commission considered resolutions that could keep wolves out.

A gray wolf (credit: INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images)The people who rallied are passionate about having the endangered Mexican gray wolf species in Colorado and say they’ll fight any state resolution that goes against efforts for reintroduction. They refute claims that wolves threaten livestock, or just don’t belong.

A gray wolf (credit: INGO WAGNER/AFP/Getty Images)

“There is no reason that wolves have to be considered the demon of livestock, it’s just not factual,” said Delia Malone of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.

(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)Debate has waged on for years, but the state’s Parks and Wildlife Commission approved the resolution that protestors argue takes a decidedly anti-wolf stance. Malone says the commission has a duty, not only to abandon the drafts, but also work to actively reintroduce wolves.

(credit: CBS)

“Wolves are a necessary part of the community of life, and they need to, if they are following their mandate, they need to bring wolves back,” Malone said.

Managing wolf species would require money and resources — things CPW spokesman Matt Robbins says are scarce. He says the approved resolution falls in line with recommendations from a 2005 study.

“We’re not opposed to the wolves that have come into our state, we have had history of the gray wolf coming into our state, they have historic range here,” Robbins said. “The idea that perhaps we’re trying to do something with a bias is in conflict with everything that we’ve said at this point, it’s just simply not factual.”

CPW’s decision to approve the resolution was largely symbolic because only the federal government or the Colorado Legislature actually has the ability and authorization to start some kind of reintroduction of wolves in Colorado. So the approval of the resolution was basically CPW stating their opinion on the matter.