Now the question is whether they'll have more company in our state. Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) says: 'Not so fast.' Kyle Davidson of CPW tells us what concerns them: "What are some of the things we're not thinking about right now?" The CPW Board decided to pass a resolution opposing the introduction of new wolves into the state. "There's more to this story that needs to be fleshed out before that becomes an option," said Davidson.
Part of the issue is that the wolves are a federally protected species, taking control of their management out of state hands. Davidson said, "In a sense Colorado Parks and Wildlife's hands are tied." Organizations like the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide are among the most passionate advocates for wolves in the state. They're also some of the most passionate opponents of the Parks and Wildlife decision.
Another issue is the habitat of the Mexican gray wolves. There is disagreement on whether they're a native species. Geist says they most likely are. "If they were in northern New Mexico there's nothing stopping them from coming here because there's no fence or boundary (to prevent them from coming) into Southern Colorado," she said.
Even if they not native to the state, Geist feels that Colorado is a good habitat for them. "Since there's not enough room for them in New Mexico and Arizona we think this is a suitable habitat - we're talking (about) southern Colorado," she said. She says that fears from ranchers of rampaging wolf packs are unfounded. "In 2014, the top 18 reasons that livestock die (according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture), wolves were number 17," she said.
Both animal lovers and Parks and Wildlife are hoping that a love of the wolf can lead to a compromise, the future of the wolves may depend upon it. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hoping to have a plan in place for the Mexican gray wolf by 2017.